SuperRugby a huge hit with fans
Fans have flocked to matches and crowded around televisions with latest broadcast and game attendance figures confirming a surge in popularity for Investec Super Rugby.
All up Investec Super Rugby attracted 3.1 million more viewers compared to the same period in 2011 while an extra 195,000 fans went through the turnstiles.
A big television audience is also expected for this weekend's sold-out Final between the Chiefs and Sharks in Hamilton- the first Super Rugby Final on New Zealand soil since 2008.
Last Friday's pulsating clash between the Chiefs and Crusaders attracted a record television audience for a Super Rugby semi-final with 447,500 fans tuning in. Just over 135,000 also watched delayed coverage on Prime, meaning more than the combined population of Hamilton and Christchurch witnessed the match from home.
"We couldn't be happier with the way fans have responded to Investec Super Rugby," said NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew.
"The quality of the rugby has been outstanding and with four of the five New Zealand teams still in contention for the play-offs over the last two rounds that all made for a terrific finish to the season.
"We have had an unusual season with Super Rugby having a three week break in June for the first time so it's great to see such positive results right through to the end of the competition.
"The Chiefs' stellar year under new Head Coach Dave Rennie has obviously had a big pay-off with a huge increase in fans coming through the gates at Waikato Stadium and that's been great for rekindling enthusiasm for the game across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Counties Manukau provinces. I wish the team all the best for Saturday night.
"All franchises have worked really hard to improve the experience for fans at grounds with a variety of new initiatives and attractive ticket pricing.
"Clearly, a successful Rugby World Cup has alsoplayed its part in re-igniting New Zealanders' support for the game, but we take nothing for granted. We will be working hard to ensure we build on our achievements this year for the 2013 season.
"Playing in front of bigger crowds across 40 New Zealand matches is something I know players have really enjoyed this year and it's a real tribute to the loyalty fans have shown to their teams."
Title it average broadcast and game attendance figures. And adjust the two bottom figures. They are average figures not total. That make sense mate?
Average broadcast and game attendance figures (2012 v 2011)
* Please note these are percentage increases on last season's figures
At game +4%
At game +126%
At game +47%
At game +17%
At game +70%
TV VIEWERSHIP AVERAGE % INCREASE 2011/2012 +19
AT GAME AVERAGE % INCREASE 2011/2012 +40