The NRL is heading towards one of its biggest Grand Finals ever after about four million people watched the two qualifying semi-finals over the weekend.
NRL Head of Commercial, Paul Kind said the Rabbitohs v Bulldogs Grand Final on Sunday was set to cap off the most successful Finals series ever.
He said more than 12 million viewers had already tuned in to the eight Finals Series games – including about two million for each of the weekend games.
Mr Kind said the crowd of 46,168 at last night’s Panthers v Bulldogs game last night was the biggest ever recorded between the two teams.
Almost 100,000 people attended both games with finals crowds up by 18% on last year.
And the Rabbitohs v Roosters clash on Friday night was the most-watched premiership game in history (excluding grand finals).
Mr Kind said the matchup between traditional rivals the Rabbitohs and the Bulldogs meant the Grand Final would sell out quickly this week.
“Let there be no doubt… this match is set to draw a monster crowd – both at the ground and on television,” he said.
“There will be a second release of tickets on sale tomorrow morning for members before they will be released to the general public on Tuesday and we expect tickets to go quickly.
“This match has got everything… two traditional Sydney sides, the Rabbitohs’ first grand finals in 43 years and a Bulldogs team which has a fantastic record in finals footy.
“We are finishing the season on a massive high with some amazing blockbusters, which the fans love.”
As part of the celebrations, Mr Kind also announced that:
- The Harbour Bridge will be lit up each night from tonight until kick off on Sunday.
NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres will tonight flick the switch to light up the south eastern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A slide-show of 80m high projections of the two Grand Final teams will light up the pylon each night.
- The NRL will light up the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final with spectacular pre-game entertainment that features international artists, Train and legendary guitarist, Slash.
Lasers, pyrotechnics, flames and special lighting will be used to ‘light up’ ANZ Stadium in a pre-game Grand Final show unlike the game has seen before.
The game will also celebrate the achievements of more than 20 of the game’s retiring players, including players such as Roosters’ Anthony Minichiello who have played 300 plus games.
“The calibre of retiring players in 2014 is incredible and deserves a showcase performance of its own,” Mr Kind said.
Star performer Simon Gleeson, from the new production of Les Miserables, will perform the national anthem before kick off.
“Fans who purchase a grand final ticket in 2014 will be treated to more than 10 hours of top value entertainment,” Mr Kind said.
This week also includes:
- An open training session by the Rabbitohs from 2.30pm tomorrow at Redfern Oval
- The announcement of the Telstra Premiership Grand Final teams and referees.
- The Dally M Awards in front of 700 fans at The Star; Telstra Premiership Grand Final lunch at Darling Harbour; and 8500 fans at Channel Nine’s Grand Final Footy Show at the Entertainment Centre.
- The NRL Telstra Grand Final events and entertainment will start from 11am on Grand Final morning with the precinct around ANZ Stadium turned into family-friendly activities.
The day will also feature the 2014 Holden Cup Grand Final and the 2014 inaugural NRL State Championship Grand Final (winners of the NSW VB Cup and Queensland Intrust Super Cup) before the NRL Grand Final kicks off at 7.22pm.