Saturday’s (March 25) match between Saracens and Harlequins set a new domestic viewership record for English men's rugby union’s top-tier Premiership Rugby.

A combined peak audience of 1.516 million tuned in across free-to-air commercial broadcaster ITV (1.33 million) and pay-TV’s BT Sport (186,000) to see Saracens run out 36-24 winners over their London rivals.

The showpiece fixture, branded as The Showdown 3, secured a 7.1% share of TV viewers in the UK and was watched by a further 55,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

The TV audience surpassed that of the 2022 Premiership Rugby Final by 200,000.

ITV secured free-to-air rights for the Premiership through a deal announced in January 2022, while BT Sport extended its long-term partnership in 2020.

Elsewhere, strong attendance figures were seen during the same round of fixtures at London Irish, Bath, and Leicester Tigers, continuing a trend seen throughout the season so far.

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By GlobalData

Simon Massie-Taylor, chief executive of Premiership Rugby, said: "We are delighted to see the latest record-breaking TV figures from Gallagher Premiership Rugby.

“And we are equally pleased to see stadium attendances remaining on a strong upwards trajectory in yet another unmissable season that is set to go right to the wire.

“A huge thanks must go to all Premiership Rugby fans for their dedication and support – as well as our clubs, broadcast partners, and sponsors who help us deliver the outstanding entertainment enjoyed by millions of people.

“It is incredible to see eight teams still very much in the mix for the four semi-final spots ahead of our showpiece Gallagher Premiership Rugby final at Twickenham on May 27.

“Supporters can also continue to keep across the non-stop entertainment live on BT Sport, ITV, or Premiership Rugby TV – with tickets for the final on sale now.”

Image: David Rogers/Getty Images