NRL claiming western victory - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL claiming western victory

By Steve Jancetic 08/09/2010 03:31:01 PM Comments (0)

The NRL claims increased crowd figures prove rugby league is winning the war with AFL for the hearts and minds of western Sydney.

NRL boss David Gallop on Wednesday held his annual state of the game address, releasing data which he claimed highlighted the enormity of the task facing the AFL as it seeks to make an impact in rugby league heartland.

Crowds in Sydney's west rose 7.4 per cent in 2010 to help the NRL set an all-time attendance record of 3,151,019 - the increase allaying fears that the arrival of the Greater Western Sydney AFL franchise would adversely impact rugby league's supporter base.

"To see us getting some growth in that area is excellent for the game and a warning to the other codes that we dominate out there and we plan to continue to dominate out there," Gallop said.

"I think they've (AFL) got a big challenge on their hands, I think they've taken a big punt.

"The fact is rugby league lives and breathes in western Sydney, we're part of the community, we have been for a century and I think the numbers show the generational support that we've got out there."

The growth in Sydney's west was offset by a 4.6 per cent drop in attendances in Queensland, with disappointing seasons for Brisbane and North Queensland contributing to the drop.

Figures produced by the NRL also showed the league was in a strong bargaining position ahead of negotiations for the new television rights deal.

Talks are set to begin early next year, the NRL to go into the meeting armed with huge rating figures with seven of the top 20 programs on free to air television rugby league broadcasts - all of them State of Origin telecasts.

The dominance is even more pronounced on pay television, with 39 of the top 50 programs on subscription television rugby league matches.

The NRL's push for fans to become members certainly paid up with memberships up 28 per cent in 2010, Wests Tigers showing the greatest increase after more than doubling their base to 6583 financial members.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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