Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/7/11/aussie-fans-tune-in-and-interact-to-returntheurn

Aussie fans tune in and interact to #ReturnTheUrn

UPDATED 11 July, 2013 5:30PM AEST | by Cricket Australia

More than 1.4million Aussie cricket fans may have struggled to get out of bed this morning after they cheered on Australia on the opening day of the Ashes from their couches.

As James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc took the new ball for Australia in their quest to return the Urn, GEM’s live free-to-air coverage of the opening session of the match scored a national total average audience of 962,310 viewers. Another 428,000 fans were glued to Fox Sports’ broadcast to take the number of Aussie fans watching the action from the first session at Trent Bridge to more than 1.4million.

GEM’s HD Ashes coverage of last night’s first session was the second-highest rating program ever on a digital channel and contributed to a big night for the Nine Network, who won the night by 16 percentage points.

Total reach (where viewers tuned in for at least 15 minutes on metro GEM channels and nationally on Fox Sports) hit the two million mark during the first Ashes session of Day One at Trent Bridge.

Fan engagement on and social media also generated record numbers across Cricket Australia’s digital platforms.

Traffic to was 168% above average and was the second-busiest day of the year for the website. On twitter, @cricketaus gained 5000 new followers in 24 hours. Aussie fans shared their support as #ReturnTheUrn trended throughout the evening and was mentioned over 11,000 times, while fan interaction from around the world contributed to 137,000 #ashes mentions in 24 hours.

Executive General Manager - Marketing, Digital & Communications Ben Amarfio said:

“A lot of Australians can be forgiven for being a bit bleary-eyed over the next six weeks. This Ashes Series is prime-time viewing and a great opportunity for fans to put their feet up at the end of the day and enjoy one of the world’s oldest sporting rivalries.

“We’ve got a large travelling Aussie contingent over in the UK, but it’s fantastic that over one million Australians are closely following the action from back home.

“It’s also pleasing to see an overwhelming number of fans jump on and show their support for Australia across social media, with #ReturnTheUrn trending throughout the evening.

“The Ashes is what everyone wants to talk about at the moment – in our homes, schools and work places, as well as on our sporting fields – and we’re thrilled that all Australian fans are able to catch every moment with quality in-depth, ball-by-ball coverage on both free-to-air and subscription TV.

“We expect a close contest and encourage all Australians to get behind their team as we try to Return the Urn,” Amarfio said.

Each day’s play of each Ashes Test match as part of Australia’s VB Tour of England will be broadcast live and in HD on GEM from 7.30pm AEST, as well as live coverage on Fox Sports and live on ABC Grandstand radio.

Live scores and match review on and updates through our Twitter handle @CricketAus and hashtags #Ashes and #ReturntheUrn

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 11 July, 2013 5:20PM AEST

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