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Big rise in viewership numbers on Sky platforms

The NRL has shown strong growth in viewership audiences on Sky throughout the 2024 season.

After nine rounds of the competition almost 1.59 million New Zealanders have enjoyed matches on Sky Sport and free-to-air on Sky Open, a lift of 14% year-on-year.[1]

NRL matches were also streamed more than 5.9 million times, an increase of 19% on the 2023 season, thanks to over 185,500 unique viewers on Sky Sport Now and Sky Go.[2]

The One New Zealand Warriors’ matches are the most popular so far with the match against the Raiders on March 22 attracting an audience of 469,800 people with a further 63,800 viewers streaming on Sky Sport Now and Sky Go.[3]

The Warriors v Sharks match on March 8 was the second most popular with 461,100 people watching and more than 64,280 streaming while Warriors v Sea Eagles contest came in third with 433,800 people watching and nearly 74,500 streaming.

Sky’s chief content and commercial officer Jonny Errington says the NRL’s surge in popularity has been driven by fan engagement with the One New Zealand Warriors, who are supporting the team this year through thick and thin.

“There’s no doubt that the NRL is on a roll in terms of fan support, with interest in the competition increasing across all games, not just ones featuring the Warriors, although they naturally continue to command the largest audiences,” he said.

One New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George sees a connection between the exponential growth experienced by the One New Zealand Warriors across all aspects of their organisation and the increased viewer engagement with the NRL season.

“The growth in viewership across Sky’s platforms is terrific news, reinforcing the huge upsurge of interest in the One New Zealand Warriors, the NRL and rugby league in general.,” he said.

“We’ve seen sellouts in stadium for the club’s first five home games of the season and exponential growth across all aspects of our organisation.

“It’s also a reflection of our long-standing partnership with Sky which has been there supporting us throughout our history.”  

Errington says there has been a significant rise in the NRL’s streaming audiences along with growth in the free-to-air audience.

“It’s particularly noticeable that we are welcoming new audiences to league on our streaming channels, with an increase of nearly 30% year-on-year in viewing hours across Sky Sport Now and Sky Go.[4]

“The majority of viewers watched via Sky Sport, Sky Sport Now and Sky Go, along with pleasing growth in the free-to-air audience who have been enjoying Friday Night Footy matches on Sky Open.”

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo says it has been great to see the passion from the New Zealand audience for the competition this year.

“Rugby league is absolutely surging in New Zealand and it’s pleasing to see more fans enjoying the game than ever before.”

[1] Source: Nielsen eTAM AP05+, Data: Cumulative reach, NRL 2023 & 2024, Sky Sports 1-4 & Sky Open
[2] Sky internal data, NRL 2024
[3] Source: Nielsen eTAM AP05+, Data: Cumulative reach, NRL 2024, Sky Sports 1-4 & Sky Open
[4] Source: Sky internal data, NRL 2023 & 2024

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