Channel 4 has been instrumental in getting the sport of rugby league out there in 2022.
Alongside Sky Sports, the terrestrial broadcaster has rugby league to new audiences with pundits Adam Hills and Helen Skelton as well as pundits Leon Pryce, Kevin Brown and Sam Tomkins bringing a fresh new element to the sport this season.
Before the season started, Channel 4 were granted ten live Super League games, with eight of them already passed – but which two teams have brought in the most amount of viewers on the terrestrial channel?
In round one of Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves’ fixture, there was an average audience of 531,000 with almost 750,000 watching the final few moments of the game which equated to a 7% audience share which was an incredible number for Channel 4’s first broadcast.
Whilst experiencing a drop in viewing figures, St Helens’ fixture over Hull FC a week later still pulled in considerable numbers, too.
The highest-minute peak was 624,000 with the average audience for the match being a massive 515,000 – which equated to a 6.8% audience share – with an average audience of 468,000.
Warrington Wolves’ home fixture against Wakefield Trinity yielded fewer viewers mainly due to the good weather, but there was still an average viewing figure of 198,000 which was 3.4% of the coverage at that time with a peak of 297,000.
Wigan Warriors and Salford Red Devils premiered for the first time on a Sunday – and the numbers somewhat stalled with an average of 213,000 which equated to 3.2% of the TV share with the peak at 270,000.
A month later, Hull KR hosted Catalans Dragons back in the Saturday lunchtime slot with a surprising increase in the viewing figures increased.
There was a programme average viewing of 207,000 – 4.3% of the TV share – whilst the match itself took an average of 254,000 – 5.2% of the TV share – with a minute peak at 314,000.
Castleford Tigers then made their debut on Channel 4 when Wigan Warriors travelled to the Jungle with a 2pm kick off as numbers were expected to grow despite the fact that it was a Bank Holiday weekend in celebration of the Queen’s 70th year on the throne.
There was a peak of 390,000 with a match average of 302,000 which equated to 5.4% of the TV share at the time and a broadcast average of 268,000 or 4.8%.
Castleford Tigers were once more broadcast a month later against St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
The match averaged 259,000 viewers, but the one minute peak was a staggering 382,000 – an incredible number considering it was on a Sunday with a kick-off at 1pm.
Salford Red Devils and Huddersfield Giants were the latest two sides to be broadcast with the whole broadcast averaging 189,000 viewers.
The one minute audience peak was a remarkable 337,000 with the game (including half-time) averaging 225,000.
Looking back through the coverage numbers, then, it is clear that Leeds and Warrington still stand out as the two sides that brought in the most viewers back in round one!
Can the two play-off games beat it?