Aviva Premiership Rugby has achieved a massive 40% rise in television audiences in its first season on BT Sport, it was confirmed today.

The top flight of English club rugby recorded an average live weekend TV audience of 358,000 across the 22 rounds of the Aviva Premiership Rugby regular season.

The biggest match audience was recorded in October when 276,000 people tuned in to watch London Wasps against Leicester Tigers.

A combined season audience of 7.88 million watched Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs live on BT Sport this season, compared to 6.14 million for the same period last year.

“We expected to see a rise after moving our live TV coverage to BT Sport, but this increase is beyond anyone's projections. We are delighted,” said Dominic Hayes, the commercial director at Premiership Rugby.

“We firmly believe that the Aviva Premiership is the most exciting and compelling domestic league in the world and these figures prove that it is a very appealing TV proposition.

“These figures coupled with the 3% rise in attendances this year show that the league is stronger than ever. It has been a great season and the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 31 May is set to be a fitting climax.

“The numbers from pubs and clubs, and through BT Sport’s app and website, are in addition to this – so the total TV audience is actually much higher."

  • The average match audience is now 119,000, up 38% on last season.
  • The weekend average live audience is now 358,000, which is 40% up on last year.
  • 7.88 million watched Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs live on BT Sport this season, compared to 6.14 million for the same period last year.