Origin Gains High TV Rating

The opening match of the 2003 Harvey Norman State of Origin Series has attracted a massive Australia wide viewing audience of 3,534,883 people.

As well as a capacity crowd of 52,000 people at Suncorp Stadium last night an estimated 2million viewers watched across the five capital city markets and a further 1,514,213 across regional markets.

In Sydney the match peaked at 1,252,810 viewers and averaged 1,177,504 for the telecast of the match itself. The figure was above all three Origin matches last year.

In Brisbane the match peaked at 823,362 viewers and averaged 781,495 from kick off to full time.

Regional NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania audiences provided another 1,514,213 viewers. In Northern NSW the peak viewing audience of 574,000 was an all time Game 1 record.

The overall figures still do not take into account viewers in New Zealand or other overseas networks.

?It was an incredible match and further proof of the unique place the Harvey Norman State of Origin Series holds in Australian sport,? ARL Chief Executive, Mr Geoff Carr, said today. ?Already tickets are selling fast for the second match in Sydney on June 25 and we urge all fans to book their seats at Telstra Stadium while they still can.

?The players and the teams involved deserve everyone?s congratulations and I?m sure anyone who watched game one will seize the chance to see the next.?

A meeting of NRL Chief Executives in Brisbane today also officially endorsed a vote of congratulations to the Queensland Government for its efforts in establishing Suncorp Stadium as a world class sporting venue.