State Of Origin TV Ratings Down Nearly 25 Per Cent For Game One, 18-Year Low

tate of Origin will shift back to its traditional mid-year slot in 2021, after Australian Rugby League (ARL) commission chair, Peter V’landys confirmed the TV ratings plummeted in game 1 of the series.

2.38 million viewers tuned into Nine’s broadcast of last week’s origin opener, which is the lowest audience seen in 18 years of TV ratings recording.

The audience figure was down nearly 25 per cent compared to last year’s game one, with V’landys admitting the TV ratings “weren’t very good.”

“I know there has been a few excuses, and we will see if those excuses are credible come Wednesday night when it is a live rubber,” V’landy’s said.

“One of the reasons why the ratings were down is that nobody gave QLD a chance – anyone that follows rugby league, you always give QLD a chance.

“The reason we put the State of Origin at the end of the season was two-fold.

“One was because we reduced the number of rounds, we wanted to give every club the opportunity to make the top eight without losing their best players mid-season,” he said.

V’landys said finances had a lot to do with scheduling the state of origin at the end of the year compared to mid-year, along with not having as many options as he would’ve liked.

“Also if we ran it mid-season this year, we would not have had a crowd,” V’landys said.

“That is a big difference to our finances, and we had really no option but to run the State of Origin at the end of the year.

“Next year is a different story, and if all goes well with COVID and we are able to have crowds, mid-season is probably the right place,” he said.

V’landys said he wasn’t prepared to completely rule out the experiment of an end of the year origin series, however said ratings for game two would be closely watched.

“It was an experiment and I am not going to start making decisions on one game,” V’landys said.

“I think we have to wait until next week.

“If next week is low [then] we can start to panic.

“At the moment there are reasons why the ratings for this game were low.

“We have to wait to see whether that is replicated.

“If it is, we will know it is best mid-season.

“As I said, next week will determine if the excuses are credible or not,” he said.

Game two will be played November 11 at ANZ stadium in Sydney.