Geoff Ninnes Fong & Partners (GNFP) is a structural, aquatic and civil engineering consultancy with broad experience in the design of new municipal and institutional swimming pools, hydrotherapy…read more
Rugby World Cup drives enhanced global fan interest for the first time since 2007
Despite initial fears over early broadcast times in the northern hemisphere and criticism of the tournament being held in Japan, online search statistics gathered during the Rugby World Cup 2019 show that global fan interest in the ninth edition of the competition grew dramatically for the first time in over 12 years.
According to figures analysed by AccuraCast, the UK’s leading sports digital marketing agency, worldwide interest in this year’s event rose by 33% to reverse the downward trend of the past three tournaments where search levels had steadily declined 2.67% year on year.
Global searches for ‘Rugby World Cup’ declined by 5% from 2007 to 2011 when the event was held in New Zealand and again by a further 7% from 2011 to 2015 when England hosted the tournament. However, worldwide interest in Japan 2019 shot up by 33% during 2015 to the 2019 event finale.
The greatest upsurge in interest came from Japan (86%), the first Asian country to host the competition, boosted by the Japan team playing their way into the last eight. The second biggest spike was from fellow quarter-finalists France (43%), followed by the eventual winners South Africa (42%).
Of the other major nations competing Wales (31%) led the way followed by Ireland (24%), Australia (23%), New Zealand (22%), England (19%) and Scotland (19%).
Commenting on the rise in engagement, Farhad Divecha, Managing Director of AccuraCast whose clients include UEFA, UFC, Lord's Cricket Ground, ATP Tour and Tottenham Hotspur, stated “Rugby World Cup interest has increased significantly throughout the first few weeks of the tournament.
“Whilst it’s great to see new interest from countries who aren’t historically big in rugby, it’s important to understand that the surge in digital engagement largely stems from renewed interest within countries who have typically followed the sport.
“England's fantastic performance along with the worldwide increase in engagement presents some strong future opportunities right now for brands in the rugby marketplace. Furthermore, to anticipate the interest to rise again in the months surrounding the France 2023 tournament would be a justified prediction.”
On a wider basis, this year’s Rugby World Cup was a record-breaking one from a digital perspective. World Rugby, the world governing body for the sport of rugby union and organisers of the World Cup outlined a plan to reach new audiences on social media, primarily through TikTok which ended the tournament with over 185,000 followers.
The #RugbyFever hashtag challenge, also initiated by World Rugby was used over 25 million times in the first seven days.
Meanwhile, the Japan 2019 tournament finished with a gigantic 1.7 billion digital video views, more than four times as many as last time around.
19th November 2019 - Construction completed at Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium
21st October 2019 - Japan looks to future rugby growth and enhanced international opportunities
21st September 2019 - Competition opening sees Japan looking to stage ‘best-ever’ Rugby World Cup
9th August 2019 - Poll shows multichannel marketing now ‘essential’ for sport brands
20th June 2019 - World Rugby scraps plans for new Nations Championship
22nd March 2019 - SANZAAR to axe Sunwolves from Super Rugby after 2020 season
7th February 2019 - 2019 Rugby World Cup approaches sell-out
22nd February 2018 - Summit to consider fan engagement and stadium development strategies
27th December 2017 - Microsoft shares sport fan engagement learnings
13th March 2017 - World Rugby launches eight-year strategy to grow women’s game
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