Championship: The encouraging numbers from the opening weekend

Photo: SWPix.com

It was a positive start on and off the field for the Betfred Championship at the weekend.

The first Monday night rugby league match live on Premier Sports between York and Featherstone attracted average viewing figures of more than 51,000.

That came off the back of a big promotion drive from the broadcaster, working with clubs and media partners.

But the numbers across the board show promise too.

More than 16,000 fans attended games, with an average not far from 2,500 per match.

That included the round-high figure of 3,602 for the game at York, as well as 3,334 for Leigh’s win over Whitehaven.

London attracted 2,182 to their first game at Plough Lane Stadium.

The figures are the more encouraging when you consider that some of the best supported teams were all away from home too.

Championship round one attendances

  • 1,927 – Barrow v Sheffield
  • 1,796 – Batley v Halifax
  • 2,241 – Dewsbury v Bradford
  • 3,334 – Leigh v Whitehaven
  • 2,182 – London v Widnes
  • 3,602 – York v Featherstone
  • 1,205 – Workington v Newcastle

The total figure for those six matches was 15,082, an average of 2,326.

For some context, when Super League licensing was in place, Championship clubs were required to demonstrate an average attendance greater than 2,500 to qualify for the application process.

The second round of Championship fixtures takes place this weekend, with another big game live on TV – as Leigh travel to Featherstone.

The return of Championship to TV screens was warmly received by fans.

Hosted by Emma Jones, it featured Leon Pryce, Kevin Brown and Jodie Cunningham as pundits and Mark Wilson on commentary.

The Championship sides enter the Challenge Cup later this month, and such is the positivity around the start of coverage on Premier Sports, that there are hopes one of those fourth round ties could be shown live on TV.

Premier Sports were announced as a secondary partner to the Challenge Cup for this season; with BBC retaining the primary rights.

PLAY: Pick your Championship dream team now in our free-to-play 2022 Fantasy Rugby League

About James Gordon 7234 Articles
Love Rugby League editor. Founded the website back in 2005. Worked with a range of clubs and sponsors during that time. Also commentates for BBC.

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