Origin smashes ratings records

For the second year in a row, Harvey Norman State of Origin has smashed ratings records with an average of 2.322 million viewers across the five capital cities tuning in to watch the first game of the 2009 series last night.<br><br>This was more than 177,000 viewers ahead of the previous highest Origin television audience of 2.145 million in Game 3, 2008.<br><br>A crowd of 50,967 was on hand at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium to witness the XXXX Queensland Maroons defeat the NSW Aussie Blues 28-18.<br><br>Adding to the enormous metropolitan television audience was an impressive 1.156 million viewers in regional Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.<br><br>In Sydney, the match was the number one program of the night attracting an average of 991,000 viewers (2008: 897,000) and 40.5 per cent audience share.<br><br>The match also dominated the market in Brisbane taking a 56.4 per cent audience share with an average of 845,000 viewers (2008: 710,000).<br><br>The Melbourne television audience increased on last year with the live broadcast of the match attracting an average audience of 330,000 (2008: 283,000). <br><br>“State of Origin continues to captivate fans and it is pleasing to see yet another ratings record,” ARL Chief Executive, Mr Geoff Carr, said. <br><br>“NSW showed plenty of heart last night but they will need the crowd behind them to stop Queensland from making it four straight series wins.<br><br>“I encourage all Blues fans to get to ANZ Stadium on June 24 and help NSW level the series.”<br><br>NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said State of Origin had again demonstrated the depth of support that exists for Rugby League.<br><br>“Once again the unique skills of our players highlighted the strength of the game as did the size of the audience both at the ground and on television.<br><br>“There have been a few challenges this year but if anyone needed a reminder about how much they love Rugby League then last night provided it in style.”<br>