SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 15: Michael Jennings of the Eels celebrates scoring a try during the NRL Elimination Final match between the Parramatta Eels and the Brisbane Broncos at Bankwest Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Round three of the NRL season, and more importantly the resumption of the 2020 campaign has seen the fans tune in in droves.

Just shy of 4.5 million people tuned in to the return of Rugby League, making for the fifth-largest TV audience in a regular-season weekend in NRL history.

Come Saturday night the combined ratings of broadcasters Channel Nine and Fox Sports had already surpassed the corresponding round last years.

By the conclusion of round three, a total of 4,490,336 viewers were recorded across eight games, the largest audience in which three games have been broadcast on free-to-air since the record set in round one of 2013.

Rugby Leagues resumption last weekend made Fox Sports a hot spot for the eyes of sports fans, they attracted approximately 2,276,000 fans as it broadcast the entire week’s action.

Channel Nine’s three free-to-air matches drew a combined audience of 2,214,336. it marked Fox Sports’ second largest cumulative audience for a regular season round with 2,276,000 viewers and the network’s largest ever regional viewership for a regular season round.

Channel Nine (20%) and Fox Sports (19.1%) enjoying significant audience increases on last year’s round-three ratings, with Thursday’s Brisbane-Parramatta clash attracting a combined 1.3 million viewers – the largest single game audience outside of finals and Origin since 2014.

Melbourne’s Saturday night clash with Canberra ranking as their second highest TV audience (behind only Cameron Smith’s 400th game last season).

These figures do not take into consideration the New Zealand based viewers of the New Zealand Warriors vs St George fixture, which is believed to be quite substantial.

Due to the Warriors’ sacrifice in moving across the Tasman indefinitely, broadcaster Sky Sports offered its streaming service for free to all New Zealanders for 24 hours on Saturday.

Thursday’s Broncos-Eels game shockingly also set viewership records in New Zealand despite not kicking off until around 10pm in the Kiwi time zone.

The broadcast figures do not take in streaming audiences across Kayo or Telstra Live Pass on the official NRL app.

The NRL also had three live games carried by Sky Sports in the UK and Fox Sports 1 in the United States, According to Forbes magazine, a soft signal from US network Fox was that round three’s fixtures were also tracking for a record in overseas viewers.