Gallop talks up NRL’s 2009 season

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    National Rugby League boss David Gallop hopes a positive set of figures will cause some of the code’s critics to eat their words towards the end of a tumultuous season for the sport.

    Addressing the media at NRL headquarters in Sydney on Wednesday, Gallop reeled off a list of positive statistics for the code.

    He outlined increased television ratings and particularly booming attendances, with the three millionth fan of the season set to attend a game this weekend.

    Gallop conceded there was plenty to be done by the NRL following a spate of incidents of bad player behaviour which brought weeks of grim headlines, but he felt the bevy of positive statistics showed the game itself in ruddy health.

    “I’d like to think that some of the stuff will make some our critics eat some of their words,” Gallop said.

    “But the fact is we have had some issues this year that we need to get on top of as best we can.

    “At the same time we’ve got a fantastic compelling sporting competition the people are getting behind and they are going to get behind over the next few weeks.”

    Gallop said rugby league had defied the trend of every other Australian football code by actually increasing average crowds by 2.12 per cent so far in 2009.

    “Only 88,968 fans stand between the round 25 tally of 2,935,181 and the 2007 NRL (season) record of 3,024,149.

    “The only previous occasion in which the game passed three million fans in the competition rounds was in 1995 when a 20-team competition recorded 3,061,338 during the regular season.

    “Even this record remains under threat in 2009.”

    Gallop also reported growth in club membership, licensing, participation and on-line engagement.

    He also produced statistics to show the NRL was producing closer and faster competition this season and outlined an increase in the number of hours clubs and players were devoting to community and charity activities.

    – Crowds are up 2.12 per cent on 2008, “defying a downward trend in other codes”.
    – Ratings for Friday-night matches on the Nine Network are up 3.6 per cent in Sydney and 16.1 per cent in Brisbane. Figures for Sunday matches are up 16.2 per cent in Sydney and 6 per cent in Brisbane.
    – Rugby league can boast 60 of the top 100 programs on Australian pay-TV.
    – Unique visitors on the NRL website are up 62 per cent on 2008.
    – Club player registrations have risen 6.8 per cent to a new record.
    – Figures show less tries are being scored through kicks in 2009 compared to the previous year, with more running of the ball and a closer competition.
    – Suncorp Stadium’s first-ever double-header in round 19 attracted a sell-out crowd of 50,109.
    – For only the third time in NRL history, total attendances for the premiership rounds are set to pass 3 million. The others were in 1995 (20 teams) and 2007 (16).
    – The clubs with the greatest increase in home crowds are the Bulldogs (44.6 per cent), Warriors (35.7) and Penrith (25.9).
    – Game one of the 2009 Origin series was the most-watched since inception, with an average of 2.322 million viewers across the five capital cities.

    © AAP 2017

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