The Premiership Rugby match between Harlequins and Bristol Bears on December 27 set a new TV audience record for the English rugby union top flight.

More than 1 million people watched the Bears win 15-12 across UK’s ITV commercial broadcaster and BT Sport pay-TV broadcaster.

The combined peak of 1.048 million made it the most-watched regular season match in the history of Premiership Rugby, surpassing the 963,000 for Sale Sharks against Leicester Tigers last season.

Comprising 907,000 viewers on ITV and 141,000 on BT Sport, the cumulative audience accounted for a 6% share of all UK TV viewers during the match.

Last Sunday's ITV highlights programs, meanwhile, were viewed by a second-highest cumulative audience of 415,000.

Premiership Rugby has also noted that there were season-high attendances over the festive rounds for six clubs – Saracens, Exeter Chiefs, Sale Sharks, Leicester Tigers, London Irish, and Northampton Saints.

ITV and BT Sport’s joint coverage of the Premiership had already broken multiple TV viewing figures for last season (2021-22).

Simon Massie-Taylor, chief executive of Premiership Rugby said: "These figures speak for themselves, and we are really pleased with the record-breaking growth in engagement we are seeing across broadcast and social media as well as the return of big crowds to our stadiums.

"It’s a testament to the amazing entertainment on the pitch and the strength of our competition, as well as the hard work our clubs, broadcast partners, and sponsors are helping us to deliver for the league. 

“The Gallagher Premiership is reaching a nail-biting stage now with very little between the bottom and the top four. Every game is now available on BT Sport, ITV, or on our streaming services PRTV and I urge any rugby or sports fans to tune in, follow and enjoy this exciting season.”

The PRTV streaming service was launched in February last year and covers every match from the Premiership.

In December, it was announced that the league would “relaunch” under a new strategy in the 2024-25 season as it seeks to bounce back from a difficult period off the field.

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