Rugby League World Cup 2021 broke records on and off the pitch over five weeks of action, which kicked off at St James’ Park on 15 October and concluded with Australia winning the men’s and women’s Finals at Old Trafford on 19 November.
In that time, 61 matches were played with the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments held simultaneously for the first time.
England exacted revenge for defeat in the 2017 Wheelchair World Cup final, defeating rivals France to claim their second Wheelchair world title before Australia continued their dominance of the running game by defeating New Zealand and Samoa in the women’s and men’s finals respectively.
Every minute of every match from all three tournaments was broadcast live by the BBC with a cumulative match average audience of 29.24 million people tuning in domestically across network and digital channels.
Meanwhile, the 2.8 million peak audience during the semi-final between England and Samoa is one of the highest ever peak TV audience for a rugby league game in Britain alongside the 2.6 million who saw New Zealand’s Shaun Johnson break English hearts in 2013 at Wembley in the semi-finals.
It was a similar outcome in 2022 with Stephen Crichton’s drop goal breaking hearts this time and had a huge 23% audience share.
Hopefully, these numbers will translate to successful TV numbers in Super League.