The 2020 Challenge Cup Final saw a 50% increase in viewing figures on last year’s final.
The Wembley showpiece, which saw Leeds clinch a 17-16 win over Salford, attracted the biggest domestic TV audience for the event since 2012, with millions more watching from around the world.
The BBC documentary, Rob Burrow: My Year with MND, which followed the former Rhinos halfback since he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2019, attracted more than two million viewers across two broadcasts last week.
The MND Association had also received almost £26,000 by midnight Sunday via the ‘text-to-donate’ system introduced specifically alongside the Final, while an extra £31,000 in online donations has been attributed to increases in website activity related to the documentary and Challenge Cup Final.
RFL Chief Executive Ralph Rimmer said: “Saturday’s Coral Challenge Cup Final was a wonderful advert for Rugby League and a tremendous credit to everybody involved – especially the clubs and players from both sides.
“My congratulations go to Leeds Rhinos and my commiserations to Salford Red Devils. They created a magnificent spectacle.
“And on behalf of the RFL I’d like to thank the many others whose contribution was outstanding, first and foremost Rob Burrow. Our chief guest ‘in absentia’ was in all our hearts throughout the day and we are honoured to have such a wonderful human being connected with our sport.
“The BBC’s presentation was superb – engaging, informative, sensitive and thoroughly professional throughout. Clare Balding was typically ebullient in her first official engagement as RFL President, Lizzie Jones was another to hit the right note, and Jodie Cunningham and James Simpson were fantastic ambassadors for next year’s Rugby League World Cup.
“My only sadness and incredible frustration is that supporters – Rhinos, Red Devils and neutral fans alike – were not allowed inside the stadium. The game is not the same without them and we continue to make our case to government as powerfully as we possibly can.
“Finally, I’d like to thank our competition title partner, Coral, for their continued support and look forward to seeing Wembley Stadium packed to the rafters on 17 July 2021.”
Fans can still donate to the MND Association via text message for the rest of this week. Text MNDROB to 70085 to donate £7. Texts cost £7, plus one standard rate message.