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Rugby News

Record TV audience for Premiership Final

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The Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final between Leicester Tigers and Saracens has been confirmed as the most-watched Premiership Rugby match ever.

Premiership Rugby has confirmed that the television coverage of Gallagher Premiership Rugby in 2021/22 has shattered previous audience records, including the figures for Tigers’ dramatic Final victory at Twickenham.

The 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final was the most-watched Premiership Rugby match in the league’s 25-year history, more than doubling the previous high for a Final.

Previous season-long BT Sport records were also broken.

For the first time, the Final was broadcast on terrestrial television on ITV4 alongside the league’s long-term partner BT Sport. The game was watched by an average audience on ITV4 of 597,000 (peaking at 831,000), and at the same time an average audience of 349,000, (peaking at 480,000) tuned into BT Sport, making it the most-watched Premiership Rugby match ever.

  • The Final had an average audience of 946,000 (1.3 million peak) – 113% higher than the previous best for a Final in 2009 when Leicester Tigers beat London Irish
  • Across 2021/22 live average audiences on BT Sport were up 21%, which is also 12% higher than the previous best in 2018/19
  • A cumulative average audience of 14.5 million people watched live Gallagher Premiership Rugby on BT Sport and ITV in 2021/22
  • A cumulative average audience of 3.2 million watched Gallagher Premiership Rugby highlights on ITV

The Final also had an impressive audience share of 12.6% across ITV and BT Sport, meaning one in eight people watching TV in the UK last Saturday afternoon were tuning into the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final.

Simon Massie-Taylor, chief executive of Premiership Rugby, said: “On the pitch, this Gallagher Premiership Rugby campaign has been unmissable, and to see that off-the-pitch records also fell shows we are taking significant steps towards our ambition of growing the game and reaching new fans.

“This season our live coverage on BT Sport and ITV was watched by a remarkable cumulative average audience of 14.5 million. We also brought back the popular weekly Sunday night ITV highlights show and ensured all that matches not screened live on BT Sport or ITV were accessible to fans on PRTV Live.

“Our vision for the Gallagher Premiership Final is to create a national sporting moment, and to do this we need to make it accessible to all.

“Achieving this record average audience has exceeded our original expectations and breaks all our previous records. The Final audience peaked at more than one million, which is a big step towards our goal and we thank BT Sport and ITV for making this possible.

“The next Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final – on Saturday, May 27, 2023 – is planned to be on the ITV main channel as well as BT Sport so we hope to break the record again, and to grow the club game further.”

Source: You Gov from BARB figures, measuring an average audience across the match.