Wakefield Wildcats contribute to new Super League record

Wakefield Wildcats' clash with Widnes Vikings attracted a massive television audience.

Wakefield Wildcats' clash with Widnes Vikings attracted a massive television audience.

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WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats’ winning start to their Stobart Super League XVII campaign contributed to the most successful opening week in the competition’s 17-year history.

The Wildcats 32-14 win at Widnes attracted a large television audience last Friday when it was shown on Sky Sports 1, with the average audience figures higher than any other opening weekend televised game in the Super League era and 75 per-cent up on the average weekly audience in 2011.

In the whole of last year, only the Super League Grand Final pulled in a bigger audience on Sky Sports than tuned in to see Wakefield’s success on Vikings’ new fourth generation ‘i-pitch’.

Round One of Stobart Super League was watched by a record TV audience on Sky Sports and the BBC with bumper aggregate attendances at the seven fixtures, a total swelled by massive awareness of the sport’s big kick-off.

Early indications from the BBC are that the new-look Super League Show was watched by more people on BBC1 and the iPlayer than ever before while the value of coverage of the sport’s elite competition across all other media channels exceeded all previous records.

In addition to impressive viewing figures, supporters also turned out in force for the opening weekend.

A total of 73,720 people attended the seven opening round fixtures, producing an average attendance of 10,531 - an increase of 12 per-cent on last season’s average attendance across Super League.

Super League chief executive Nigel Wood said: “The television audiences, the excellent crowds and the high quality media coverage of the Stobart Super League all point to this being a very special year.

“The record ratings on Sky Sports are very positive and prove once again how popular the Stobart Super League competition is as a television spectacle.

“With the start of a terrific new five year broadcasting agreement with Sky, it was very pleasing that our opening televised game was the most watched sport on national television last Friday night.

“The excellent viewing figures and attendances are backed up by strong coverage in the national, regional and local newspapers, which has a media value to be worth in excess of £5 million.”

“Congratulations must also go to all the clubs for working extremely hard to ensure every game was played over the weekend. It was a massive challenge and the commitment and dedication shown was a credit to the competition.”

Read Friday’s Wakefield Express for more news from the Wakefield Wildcats.