Record tumbles for opening match

Figures out today show the opening match of the 2014 First Utility Super League season, between Wigan Warriors and Huddersfield Giants, recorded the biggest television audience for a Round 1 fixture in the competition’s 19-year history.
The match between the defending champions and the the 2013 League Leaders, on Friday February 7 drew a peak audience of 353,000 to Sky Sports 1 and an average audience of 299,300, a 38 per cent increase on the figures from the opening game of last season between Hull FC and Leeds Rhinos.
The audience was also 288,000 more than watch the live Premiership rugby union match between Worcester and Leicester on BT Sport 1 and 293,500 more than the audience that tuned in for live World Trophy darts on Eurosport.
RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer said: “This is tremendous news which demonstrates the growing appeal of the First Utility Super League and the sport as a whole.
“To record such a massive audience, one which dwarfs every other competing sports programme, was the perfect way to celebrate our new contract with Sky Sports, who continue to be fantastic broadcast partners.
“It was also a terrific start for the competition’s new title sponsors First Utility, who gained unprecedented exposure from their involvement with a sport which continues to grow in stature.
“Following the success of Rugby League World Cup 2013, we were confident that there would be a tangible legacy and I have no doubts that many of the viewers who switched on last Friday did so as a consequence of that tournament.
“With some intriguing Round 1 fixtures coming up this weekend, including two very attractive matches live on Sky Sports 1, I can confidently predict that Super League will continue to break records.”
The Sky Sports cameras will be at The Halliwell Jones Stadium tonight for clash between Warrington Wolves and St Helens (8.00pm kick-off). They will then be at the KC Stadium on Friday to see Hull FC host Catalan Dragons (8.00pm).