Origin III breaks ratings records
Queensland’s one-point victory to secure seven State of Origin series wins in a row has helped the Nine Network notch a new TV ratings record for the rugby league showpiece.
Around 2.62 million viewers in Australia’s five capital cities tuned in for the Suncorp decider, according to OzTam, while nationally it had an average audience of 4.04 million.
The metro audience peaked at 3.23 million, while the national audience peak at 4.82 million.
The metro figure included 1.186 million in Sydney, 406,000 in Melbourne, 866,000 in Brisbane, 67,000 in Adelaide and 99,000 in Perth. The Game III figure received a bigger audience in both Sydney and Brisbane.
This was the highest rating State of Origin game since the introduction of OzTam figures, and the pre-match and post-match coverage also performed well. The post-match show was watched by 2.328 million, and the pre-match coverage was watched by 1.568 million.
In NSW Nine showed ‘The Blue Wall’, a half-hour program hosted by Michael Slater, Andrew Johns, Brad Fittler and Paul Harragon, and in Queensland Nine broadcast a Maroon version.
While this was a nice touch, it was not repeated in Games I and II. Nine could be doing more to get the most out of its Origin rights. Broadcasting both post-match press conferences would be a start, which Fox Sports does. So would livening up its broadcast team.
Nine seems to want to replicate its cricket style of broadcast and commentary. While I think Phil Gould has a lot to offer, do Queensland fans want to hear his speech right before kick-off?
There is a lot of knowledge on the panel with Vautin, Sterling, Lockyer, Lewis, Fittler, etc, and a lot of Origin experience. But some just aren’t built to be on TV, and their biases are just too obvious.
Lockyer can barely speak, so putting him in as a sideline-eye or a ‘colour’ commentator is pointless. Get that man a lozenge, or get that man out of the team.
Nine should be introducing some more journos and less-invested staff to get involved. Some women would also be a smart ploy, to broaden the appeal of the game.
Super Rugby interviews players and captains as they leave the field at half-time, wouldn’t that be a great touch in Origin?
The State of Origin is a fantastic spectacle, one of the best sports events on the planet, and last night was no exception. But if the NRL Commission wants rugby league to continue to grow and to grab that $1 billion rights mark, and Nine wants to hold onto the rights, then more needs to be done.
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