Records smashed: Nine and Fox big winners from NRL’s return
The NRL is celebrating a ratings bonanza with the Broncos-Eels clash smashing records with more than 1.3 million viewers tuning into the season re-launch at Suncorp Stadium.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing lockout crowds at stadiums, the big winners are Channel Nine and Fox Sports with Parramatta's 34-6 belting of Brisbane delivering the NRL's highest TV audience in six years.
The Broncos-Eels clash produced a whopping 29.5 per cent on last year's average TV numbers - a huge win for the NRL, which is just third sport in the world behind South Korea's K-League and Germany's Bundesliga to resume play.
Kayo is your ticket to the relaunched 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership. Watch every game Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
As the Eels ran riot in a free-flowing affair, 951,938 fans tuned in on Channel Nine, while Fox League had 355,000 viewers.
It was the highest rating regular season match since round 1 in 2014. The Suncorp blockbuster was also the best simulcast audience in Fox's history.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys was confident the crowd-lockout would lead to a TV ratings surge and the early indications are promising ahead of seven more games to be played in round three.
It is estimated 30 million around the globe will watch the NRL premiership this weekend.
The one-referee system and six-again rule added to the spectacle for TV viewers with Parramatta coach Brad Arthur praising the high-octane action with just two penalties blown in the first half.
"It was flowing," Arthur said. "Sometimes I didn't realise who got six to go and you lose count.
"Our first try was off the back of a few six to gos, it was great to watch."
Originally published as Records smashed: Nine, Fox big winners from NRL's return