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130 per cent rise in average TV audiences

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Premiership Rugby has confirmed a huge increase in TV viewing figures for Aviva Premiership Rugby matches coupled with a rise in attendances.

Aviva Premiership Rugby made its debut on BT Sport two weekends ago with last week's match between Bath Rugby and Leicester Tigers leading the way, attracting a peak audience of 185,000 and an average of 146,000 for the match, according to BARB (Broadcasters' Audience Research Board).

The Bath Rugby v Leicester Tigers clash has helped Aviva Premiership Rugby record a stunning 130 per cent rise in average TV audience in the first two weekends of action, while the average match attendance was 13,620 compared to 13,578 in 2012-13.

"Aviva Premiership Rugby is booming. The first two weekends with BT Sport were a big success," said Dominic Hayes, Premiership Rugby commercial director. "The figures prove the huge interest in Aviva Premiership Rugby and we are delighted to see all of the hard work delivering results.

"We are committed to bringing fans closer to the action and at Premiership Rugby we have been delighted with the partnership so far, not just for live matches but the midweek show - Rugby Tonight.

"The coverage innovations like the dressing room cameras and in-game interviews have been welcomed by our supporters."

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: "Aviva Premiership Rugby is extremely important to us. We show live games every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and so we are showcasing the very best of the action.

"Saturday's are a big day of live sport for us and we think that showing an exclusively live Barclay's Premier League game followed by an Aviva Premiership Rugby Game provides a great afternoon of live sport for our viewers.

"We've also launched our new show, Rugby Tonight, which is full of lively debate, explanation and banter every Wednesday evening. And all of this is presented by our fantastic line up of rugby experts and presenters.

"We want to grow the popularity of club rugby and I'm delighted to see that it's working."

Premiership Rugby are also delighted with the early season attendance rise across Aviva Premiership Rugby and Hayes added: "A huge amount of work went in over the summer at all of our clubs so it is great to see this hard work achieving results.

"Our clubs create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere every weekend and the early audience figures support that.

"Aviva Premiership Rugby is the most competitive league in the world with 51 per cent of matches in the 2012-13 season having a winning margin of seven points or less. This was shown in another compelling game at Twickenham during the first weekend of the season when the London Wasps and Harlequins match was settled with the final kick of the game."