The State of Origin series opener attracted an audience of close to 3 million on Wednesday night, surpassing the corresponding game of last year’s November series.
An average national audience of 2.7 million tuned in on Nine, the publisher of this masthead, to watch NSW’s 50-6 demolition of Queensland in Townsville.
Nine’s streaming service, 9Now, also attracted close to 250,000 viewers via the app during the match.
Streaming numbers have affected TV ratings the past couple of years, however the NRL still experienced an increase in traditional television viewers as they returned to a Winter timeslot following the forced Spring reschedule in 2020.
The last Winter series opener in 2019 attracted an average national audience of 3.21 million, a figure which hasn’t been eclipsed since.
The average audience for game one on Wednesday night fell just shy of the 2.73 million that tuned in for last year’s series decider in game three, and well above the 2.38 million for game one.
Last year’s series opener crashed to an 18-year low, however the NRL believed the US elections and Melbourne Cup the day before impacted on its numbers.
Origin ratings have steadily declined over the past five years, well down on the numbers experienced during Queensland’s Origin supremacy. The top 10 most watched Origin games of all time were all between 2011 and 2016.