The NRL's inaugural 'Magic Round' has generated high levels of engagement for both Foxtel and Tourism Queensland, with attendance up 40,000 more than expected.
The strategy by the league and Tourism QLD was to generate a higher interest for the game in the region, by hosting an entire round of the league in one location, Suncorp Stadium.
Magic Round is anticipated to generate a further $60 million for Queensland's economy, with over 300,000 hotel rooms expected to have been booked for the event.
The concept originates from the English Super League, whereby the governing body for Rugby League in the UK endeavours to spread the game out of "heartland" regions.
On Fox Sports, MCN reported that Magic Round had the second highest subscription TV audience share across the five metro cities and the key buying demos.
Total People share averaged 25%, while the 16-39 demographic saw an audience share of 27%. The highest rated game was Saturday's clash between the Melbourne Storm and Parramatta Eels, with a total audience of 330,000.
As part of the round, The Matty Johns show moved its operations up to Suncorp, using the weekend to carry out various activations and stunts.
This included having co-hosts and former NRL players Nathan Hindmarsh and Bryan Fletcher enter a plastic pop-up dome for the weekend, which was sponsored by Harvey Norman.
Tourism industry development Minister Kate Jones says the Queensland Government continues to invest in major events that support local jobs and pump millions into the state’s economy.
“Almost 135,000 people attended the first ever Magic Round - that’s about 40,000 more than first anticipated. This is a testament to the fact that Suncorp Stadium is the country’s best rugby league stadium, and that Brisbane is a world-class event host," Jones says.
Magic Round continues the NRL's strategy to engage more fans outside of the traditional NSW catchment area, which is generally made up of teams for the greater Sydney region.
Alongside Magic Round, the NRL has also parted with Tourism NSW to take more games to regional towns around the state, with promos running throughout the broadcast, promoting the town.
The league has been on a mission this year to shine a light on the "human side" of the game, while also focusing on targeting "waning and emerging" fans of the game.
Over the past 18-months, the NRL had been conducting a brand review, which found the game was "under-indexed" within the younger fan base, particularly the 14-17 demographic.
The NRL will continue to push a younger message this year as it looks to recover from arguably one if its worst off-seasons in history, with multiple players tied up in off-field legal matters.
"It's a challenge because pushing good stories is invariably harder than the bad ones but it just needs to be a continual thread in everything we do. We will always look to tell positive player stories in everything we do," NRL head of marketing and brand Peter Jarmain previously told AdNews.
Below is a full breakdown of the key Foxtel ratings across magic round:
NRL Magic Round saw an average of 262k across all games, up +1% on Round 9 last year of 260k. The 2019 NRL season is currently up +1% YOY.
293,000 – FOX LEAGUE – LIVE: NRL WARRIORS V DRAGONS
291,000 – FOX LEAGUE – LIVE: NRL WESTS TIGERS V PANTHERS
274,000 – FOX LEAGUE – LIVE: NRL RABBITOHS V COWBOYS
270,000 – FOX LEAGUE – LIVE: NRL SEA EAGLES V BRONCOS
211,000 – FOX LEAGUE – LIVE: NRL ROOSTERS V RAIDERS
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