NRL: State of the Game

The NRL today reported overall crowd numbers in the Telstra Premiership have reached 1,688,948, up five percent on the same time last year.

The actual crowd average per game for 2009 is 16,240 compared to 16,264 in 2008 (a drop of just 0.15% based on the number of matches played to date).

Not only has the NRL broken television ratings records at the Harvey Norman State of Origin level, but it has also recorded increases in both free-to-air and subscription television ratings from 2008. 

NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today that the figures were a tribute to the standard of football on the field, the closeness of the competition and to the dedication of NRL fans.

“While the economic climate has been tough and while many people predicted we would see a drop in numbers, there have been a lot of positives and each week the NRL players are lifting themselves in a way that has inspired fans.

“As we head to the second Harvey Norman State of Origin Series game at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, there have already been more than 70,000 tickets sold.

“With The Telstra Premiership Finals just around the corner, there is still a lot to look forward to in 2009.”

Rugby League’s annual ‘fan scan’ survey has shown passion for the game has increased to record levels, awareness of Rugby League’s One Community program amongst Rugby League supporters has increased and 84% of supporters say the current economic conditions has had no affect on their ability to attend matches.

Furthermore, research from Repucom SponsorLink survey shows an increase of women with an interest in Rugby League in 2009.

Some of the highlights of the season to date:

Memberships
Club memberships game-wide have grown 27% so far in 2009 as a result of a coordinated investment strategy by the NRL and clubs.

    • Nine out of the 16 clubs have achieved record club membership numbers.
    • 14 clubs have recorded increases in memberships.
    • In a first for the game, total NRL club members number more than 100,000 people.
    • Two clubs with major increases include the Rabbitohs (120%) and Bulldogs (60%), who finished 14th and 16th respectively on the table in 2008.
  • The Blatchy’s Blues Supporters Group will again be Australia’s biggest supporter group, they have sold-out (capped at 3000 tickets) to State of Origin 2 in Sydney. Up 2000 on last year.

Free to air television

  • For the second year in a row, Harvey Norman State of Origin smashed ratings records with an average of 2.322 million viewers across the five capital cities tuning in to watch Game 1 of the 2009 series.
  • This was more than 177,000 viewers ahead of the previous highest Origin television audience of 2.145 million in Game 3, 2008.
  • Weekly ratings are up in Brisbane by 21.7% for both Friday matches and Sunday.
  • Weekly ratings are up in Sydney by 14.2% for both Friday matches and Sunday.
  • Regular season NRL matches across metropolitan and regional free to air television have attracted more than 20 million viewers so far this season.

Pay television

  • NRL matches on Fox Sports have reached an audience of 9.5 million so far in 2009.
  • Rugby League occupies 41 of the top 100 programs on Fox Sports so far in 2009.
  • There have been five games with an average audience in excess of 300,000 this year (compared with 10 for the entire 2008 season).
  • Ratings for Monday Night Football is up 5%
  • Ratings for Sunday is up 2%

Internet

  • The number of unique visitors on NRL.com is up 54% in May compared with 2008.
  • NRL.com has also recorded an average monthly increase of 40% in page impressions compared with 2008.