RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood has hailed the growing appeal of Engage Super League after attendance records tumbled over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
Rugby League’s elite competition attracted a record 149,771 people for the 14 fixtures in Rounds 11 and 12, a 14 per cent increase on the corresponding Easter programme last year.
The aggregate crowd for the Round 11 fixtures last Thursday and Friday was 84,720, the second highest total for an individual round in Super League history.
“The figures are a fantastic testimony to what has to be the most appealing and entertaining competition in British sport,” said Wood.
“It is no coincidence that the fans who turned out in record numbers and the hundreds of thousands of people who watched on TV were treated to some tremendously exciting action and memorably close contests.
“This year we have seen more uncertainty of outcome than ever before and this season all teams have shown an ability to beat their rivals, regardless of their league position on any given weekend.
“The sense of excitement within Super League this is palpable and I’m sure attendances will grow still further as the season builds to a climax between now and the Grand Final.
“With just four points separating the top seven clubs as we approach the halfway point of the 2011 season, things could hardly be closer and it all bodes well for scintillating summer of Engage Super League action.”
The biggest crowd of the Easter weekend came at Wigan on Friday when the Warriors defeat arch-rivals St Helens in front of 24,057 people. Earlier that day Hull FC beat Hull KR before a crowd of 19,795 whilst the previous evening 19,275 people turned out to watch Leeds defeat Bradford 30-22 at Grattan Stadium.
On Easter Monday Leeds drew more than 14,000 people to Headingley Carnegie to see England stand-off Danny McGuire’s return from injury inspire the Rhinos to victory against Crusaders whilst a bumper crowd of 12,036 saw Warrington fall to a surprise home defeat by Hull FC.