NEW RECORD ?
Thank you to 79,173 fans who turned out in Round 11 to set a new attendance record in Super League ???
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) April 19, 2019
It is hard to argue against the fact that rugby league as a sport is in rude health at the moment. It genuinely feels like interest in it has never been higher, with recent figures providing some solid indications regarding its success.
New statistics have revealed how Super League games held around the Easter weekend in the UK enjoyed record-breaking attendance levels, with almost 80,000 fans heading to stadiums to watch their teams in action across six games. Perhaps most impressively, the Hull derby on Good Friday was watched by more than 20,000, with Leeds and Warrington exceeding 11,000, respectively.
It has certainly been another fascinating season in the competition, with rugby league betting provider bet365 understandably suggesting that current Super League leaders St Helens are the favourites to win both the regular season and the grand final.
However, there is plenty to suggest that the future looks bright for the sport beyond this season too and here are three reasons why we’re excited about what’s coming next.
1. A new Liverpool club
Liverpool may have a strong history as a football city, but could it also have untapped potential when it comes to the world of rugby league? That’s certainly what Luke Backhouse has suggested, as he is one of a trio of businesspeople working to create a club in the city.
The launch of the team has been earmarked for the day before the Magic Weekend at Anfield later this month and Backhouse recently told Insider that he is hopeful that the club will be competing in the Super League by 2022 or 2023.
2. International expansion
It is not just Liverpool which is set to be home to a new rugby league team, however, with the Rugby Football League recently approving plans for teams in both New York and Ottawa to join its league structure by 2020.
With the teams set to join Toronto Wolfpack in the competition, it is another sign of how the global appeal and potential of rugby league is increasingly being recognised. Could we see even more international expansion in the future? At this point it is hard to bet against it.
3. The return of the Lions
Club competitions like the Super League might be dominating our thoughts right now, but excitement is undoubtedly building regarding the return of the Great Britain Rugby League Lions.
— Rugby League Lions (@RL_Lions) March 18, 2019
The team has been out of action since 2007 but is now making a return with a tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in the autumn. It has been a long time coming, but we cannot wait to see the team – led by head coach Wayne Bennett – in action.
Rugby league has enjoyed a fantastic few years but we think that the issues highlighted above mean the future is looking even more exciting for the sport. From international expansion to the return of the resurrected Lions, there is so much to look forward to across the rest of 2019 and beyond.