Challenge Cup Final draws sharp audience increase

Saturday’s Challenge Cup Final attracted the biggest audience since 2012.

A 53% increase saw the final peak at 1.6 million viewers with an average of over 1 million.

The game also attracted an audience 15% higher than the rugby union Champions Cup Final.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “Saturday’s Coral Challenge Cup Final was a wonderful advert for Rugby League and a tremendous credit to everybody involved – especially the clubs and players from both sides. My congratulations go to Leeds Rhinos and my commiserations to Salford Red Devils. They created a magnificent spectacle.

“And on behalf of the RFL I’d like to thank the many others whose contribution was outstanding – first and foremost Rob Burrow. Our chief guest ‘in absentia’ was in all our hearts throughout the day and we are honoured to have such a wonderful human being connected with our sport.

“The BBC’s presentation was superb – engaging, informative, sensitive and thoroughly professional throughout. Clare Balding was typically ebullient in her first official engagement as RFL President, Lizzie Jones was another to hit the right note, and Jodie Cunningham and James Simpson were fantastic ambassadors for next year’s Rugby League World Cup.

“My only sadness and incredible frustration is that supporters – Rhinos, Red Devils and neutral fans alike – were not allowed inside the stadium. The game is not the same without them and we continue to make our case to government as powerfully as we possibly can.

“Finally, I’d like to thank our competition title partner, Coral, for their continued support and look forward to seeing Wembley Stadium packed to the rafters on 17 July 2021.”