9th March 2019, 13:30 | super_league
Figures released today show Betfred Super League has started the 2019 season positively with increases in TV audiences, attendances and an ever-growing digital footprint.
Compared to games up to Round Four last season, Super League’s cumulative TV audience is more than 25% up, with over 1.7m viewers to date.
Wigan Warriors vs Leeds Rhinos has attracted the biggest TV average match audience of 2019 (250,300) which exceeded all regular season average match TV audiences from 2018.
Betfred Super League’s season opener between St Helens and Wigan Warriors had a match average TV audience that was more than one-third higher than the opening fixture last season (230,400).
Average attendances* are the highest for games from Rounds one to four in the last five years (9,185).
Hull KR, St Helens and Warrington Wolves are currently ahead of five-year-high average attendances and all three, plus Salford Red Devils are attracting average attendances more than 12% higher than last season.
And, the Betfred Super League continues to grow its digital footprint too:
2019 saw the introduction of new rules, including Shot Clock, ultimately aimed at speeding up games and reducing elapsed time. Over the first four rounds of fixtures, games have been significantly quicker with an average elapsed time of just over 91 minutes; more than 7 minutes shorter than the average in 2018.
Games up to Round Four are also proving to be more competitive, with the average points difference decreasing to 13.1 points (against 14.3 in 2018) and five games decided by a margin of 2 points or less.
The opening rounds of the 2019 season have also seen more tries per game (7.42 v 6.85) and a smaller final points margin (13.1 v 14.2) than the 2018 average.
There have been more offloads (18.6 v 17.7) and more quick Play-the-balls (33.88 v 29.21) in 2019, a sign the speed of the game has increased.
Super League Chief Executive, Robert Elstone said: "It’s great to start 2019 with such positive news. We have seen some great games live on Sky Sports in the opening four rounds and these figures show Betfred Super League is off to a great start in 2019.”
*Figure does not include London Broncos attendances