TV figures for Leeds-St Helens thriller highlights ‘appeal of golden point extra time’

James Gordon

Photo: News Images

The Friday night thriller between Leeds and St Helens attracted the second highest peak TV audience of the season, which Super League chiefs believe underline the appeal of golden point extra time.

Though no exact figures have been shared as yet, Sky Sports’ coverage of the game was behind only the opening game of the season between Warrington and Leeds in February.

The peak came during the 10 minutes of golden point extra time where Lewis Dodd’s drop goal snatched victory for champions St Helens at Headingley.

Just 24 hours earlier, another thriller had been decided by golden point – as Wigan nabbed victory at Hull KR having forced the extra period with a try in the final period of extra time.

Golden point has split opinion since its introduction ahead of the 2019 season, with some fans still preferring that games finish as a draw on 80 minutes, as remains the case in the Championship and League 1.

A planned move to introduce golden point to the lower leagues with an amended points system was abandoned following the cancelled COVID season.

Despite Hull KR not announcing their attendances on a game-by-game basis, Super League has reported that attendances continue to grow – with the six matches in Round 13 each attracting a higher attendance than the last time the fixture was played.

That included 15% increases at Salford’s game with Hull and Leigh’s win over Warrington.

The news comes at a time when RL Commercial chiefs are locked in negotiations over a new broadcast deal, with the current one running out at the end of the 2023 season.

Meanwhile, the Summer Bash fixture between Featherstone and York on Saturday night attracted Viaplay’s highest TV audience of the season.

There is doubt over whether Viaplay will continue to broadcast the Championship in 2024, with rugby league ominously absent from their website, and they have only selected six further fixtures for the rest of the season.

Only two games were broadcast live on Viaplay, with the other five games – including one from the Women’s Super League – shown behind a paywall on the Our League app.