New Zealand officials are trumpeting the drawpower of Super Rugby this year with a 43 per cent lift in crowd figures and TV audiences increasing by 25 per cent.
With the Chiefs and Sharks set to play for the title in Hamilton tomorrow, figures released by the NZRU and broadcast partner SKY point to renewed interest in the competition on the back of New Zealand’s World Cup success last year.
They say Super Rugby attracted 3.1 million more viewers compared to the same period in 2011 while an extra 195,000 fans went through the turnstiles. These figures were based on the 18 weeks of regular season play.
And last Friday's playoff between the Chiefs and Crusaders attracted a record TV audience for a Super Rugby semifinal with 447,500 fans tuning in. Just over 135,000 also watched delayed coverage on Prime.
It’s no coincidence that the Chiefs have been the biggest movers on the back of their success.
They recorded a 126 per cent lift in crowd attendances at Waikato Stadium this season compared to last year and TV viewership of their matches was up 115 per cent.
All five New Zealand franchises recorded increases in both areas. The figures, based on increases from last year were:
Chiefs: average crowd +126 per cent, TV +115 per cent
Highlanders: average crowd +70 per cent, TV +6 per cent
Hurricanes: average crowd +47 per cent, TV +26 per cent
Crusaders: average crowd +17 per cent, TV +22 per cent
Blues: average crowd + 4 per cent, TV +31 per cent
- © Fairfax NZ News
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