Following on from the success of the pilot tournament in 2018, the 2019 NRL Touch Premiership has grown exponentially, achieving strong broadcast and digital growth, as well as attracting further commercial interest.
The NRL Touch Premiership, which is an elite, televised touch football tournament played at major stadiums around Australia and New Zealand, with men’s and women’s touch teams representing NRL clubs, was introduced last year as a pilot tournament featuring only seven gamedays.
This year, with the addition of two NRL clubs, the Sydney Roosters and the New Zealand Warriors, the tournament produced a full 52 game season, which was broadcast across Fox League, Kayo Sports and NRL.com, as well as Sky Sports in New Zealand – recording a 39 percent year-on-year growth per Fox Sports broadcast.
The content produced from the increased schedule saw Touch Football Australia ranked number 2 out of all NSOs for percentage of social media audience growth from 1st Feb 2019 (pre-Premiership) to 1st May 2019 (post-Premiership tap-off), according to the latest SHUNT report.
Touch Football Australia (TFA) CEO, Jamie O’Connor, is thrilled with the success of the season.
“Viewership and social media engagement has gone from strength to strength,” he said.
“We’re really starting to get a good indication from the market that there’s an appetite for elite touch football as a spectator sport.
“The social media interest in the tournament has been outstanding – a single Try of the Week video, for example, went viral – 2.3 million impressions on Facebook alone.
“They’re extraordinary numbers,” he said.
“What’s even more impressive is our ability to appeal to 18-to-24-year-olds, which is the market that is leaving traditional media.
“That’s a real strength of our sport, being able to communicate with a huge crowd via socials, because we’re Australia’s largest social sport.
“Six-hundred-and-eighty thousand people around the country play Touch Football, and there’s an even gender split – forty-eight percent females and fifty-two percent males.”
Regional games at stadiums in locations such as Gosford, Newcastle and Townsville were strongest, seeing a 10,000 strong crowd turn up for the Newcastle Knights versus Parramatta Eels match at Glen Willow Stadium in Mudgee.
Touch Football has also experienced strong commercial in 2019, with current partners Indomie Noodles and the Mater Group recently renewing their deals, in addition to the signing of two new partners, Buderim Ginger and Scrunchiko.