The Rugby League World Cup was a special tournament.
Yes some fans were dissatisfied with some of the attendances recorded, even Chief Executive Jon Dutton did after only 5,000 watched New Zealand vs Lebanon at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium.
However, the TV numbers were truly impressive week on week especially as the tournament drew to a close.
The biggest television audience across all 61 games was for England v Samoa in the men’s semi-finals with a combined peak audience of 2.8 million and a 23% audience share, while England women’s semi-final defeat to New Zealand saw a combined peak of 1.4 million watching on the BBC. A further two matches in the women’s tournament were watched by more than a million people.
The women’s final between Australia and New Zealand was watched by nearly a million viewers in the UK, while nearly two million tuned in to watch Australia overcome Samoa to win their 12th title. In terms of the overseas audience, more than 400,000 people tuned in from Australia to watch the men’s and women’s finals double header live, despite the match kicking off at 3am down under.
This will only have helped grow the sport to new fans across the country and also given people in Samoa something to aspire to in the years to come growing rugby league in England and abroad.