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Julian Miller
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Julian Miller
08/03/2024
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61k Americans watched Manly v Rabbitohs, 44k watched Roosters v Broncos

NRL’s debut matches in the US received lacklustre ratings. 61k Americans watched Manly v Rabbitohs, while less than 50k watched Roosters v Broncos. 

News Insights

  • NRL played two matches in Las Vegas last weekend.
  • 61k Americans watched Sea Eagles vs. Rabbitohs.
  • 44k Americans watched Roosters vs. Broncos
  • Eight more NRL matches will be played in Las Vegas over the next four years.

The two NRL Las Vegas matches are being hailed as a massive success by the NRL owners and other higher ups, but fans have been left disappointed after the US television numbers were released earlier this week.  
 
Reportedly, just 61k Americans tuned in to watch Sea Eagles vs. Rabbitohs on Saturday evening in the US. Even less, just 44k people, watched Roosters vs. Broncos. 40k people were in attendance in-person at both matches.

NRL TV ratings revealed 

According to Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch, a website dedicated to tracking television ratings of sporting events in the United States, just 61k people watched Sea Eagles vs. Rabbitohs and 41k people watched Roosters vs. Broncos on television in the United States on Saturday.  
 
For context, the most-watched sporting event in the US on Saturday night was an NBA match between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers. Just over 3 million people watched that game. The Nuggets vs. Lakers match ran concurrently with Roosters vs. Broncos during the primetime TV slot on the US West Coast.  
 
For even more context, the NFL’s draft combine, an event where university players perform physical tests ahead of the NFL draft, earned over 108k viewers during a similar time slot. Multiple college basketball games, Liga MX soccer games, and Major League Soccer matches also outdrew the NRL’s debut double header in Las Vegas.  
 
The moral of the story here is that the NRL has a long way to go to become a household name in the US. Some fans are choosing to be more pessimistic though.  

“Diabolical numbers,” say NRL fans 

Fan reaction to the NRL US television ratings has almost entirely been negative, especially considering there were many fans against hosting NRL games in Las Vegas in the first place.  
 
Diabolical numbers,” said one fan on X (formerly known as Twitter), responding to Sports Media Watch, who revealed the NRL television ratings on Wednesday. “That’s lower than low,” said another.  
 
Some fans have even described these numbers as the number of people who “just left the TV on in the background” while they got up to do other things.  
 
NRL media have been a little more kind than the fans once the numbers were released. SEN’s Jimmy Smith said that these ratings numbers were “is probably a little disappointing for the NRL,before adding that they are “certainly something to build on” in coming years for the NRL.  
 
The NRL is set to host four more double-headers, eight more matches in total, over the next four seasons. Given how poor the numbers were for the debut double-header, the way forward is up for the NRL. 

NRL Round 1 preview 

With the NRL’s spectacle in Las Vegas behind it, we can now look ahead to the rest of NRL Round 1.  
 
The first match on Australian soil of Round 1 is on Thursday at the McDonald Jones Stadium between Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders. The betting sites have Canberra as big favourites in this one.  
 
The other big NRL match we’ll be watching is Melbourne Storm vs. Penrith Panthers at AAMI Park on Friday night. Panthers are three-time reigning champions and PlayUp’s favourite to win the Premiership again this season. 

Keep up to date on the NRL betting for these matches and all other NRL fixtures throughout the season here at BettingTop10.