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World Cup 2023 was the ‘most viewed rugby event ever’

Viewership grew by nearly 20 per cent from the 2019 edition of the tournament

Chiranjit Ojha
Tuesday 30 January 2024 12:23 GMT
South African pipped New Zealand as they secured back-to-back World Cup crowns
South African pipped New Zealand as they secured back-to-back World Cup crowns (Getty Images)

The 2023 Rugby World Cup held in France had a 19 per cent viewership growth from the 2019 edition, becoming the most viewed rugby event of all time, World Rugby have said.

The event, held in September and October, clocked in 1.33bn viewing hours across linear and non-linear broadcast, a 30 per cent growth from the last World Cup held in Europe in 2015 in England.

Of the total viewership, 85 per cent came from free-to-air TV broadcasters, while streaming platforms accounted for 5 per cent of the total viewership.

“World Rugby teamed up with free-to-air broadcast partners in most markets to showcase the best of rugby to as many fans as possible,” World Rugby said in a statement.

“Eight of the 11 markets surveyed saw strong viewership growth since 2015 despite a general decline in linear TV globally,” they added.

Italy had a 70 per cent growth in viewership compared to the 2015 edition, while the viewership in the US more than doubled.

Japan was the country with the third-highest viewership despite many matches kicking off late, although the numbers marked a decrease from the 2019 edition that they hosted.

Japan’s group stage matches against Argentina and Samoa, which kicked off at 7.45pm in the country, clocked in 33 million viewing hours each, the highest for a domestic broadcast.

“We will continue to work with our broadcast partners to enhance the viewing experience, especially for new audiences,” World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin said.


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