Almost 11 million South African viewers watched the Rugby World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand live on television on 28 October.
This is about a quarter (26%) more viewers compared to last year’s World Cup soccer final and does not even include those who watched the final in fan parks.
Data from Nielsen, an international data analyst, shows that 10.9 million unique home-based live viewers watched across four linear TV channels in South Africa at the end of last month as the Springboks won the Web Ellis Cup in France for a historic fourth time hold up
According to Nielsen Sports SA, this rise in viewership is not completely unprecedented, but is a sign of South Africans’ growing interest in rugby.
According to the 2023 Nielsen Fan Insights Rugby Fan report, the Rugby World Cup as a sporting event also currently enjoys the highest level of interest. More than 86% of South African sports fans showed interest in the tournament.
Fans who show this level of interest (or higher) in the tournament include fans of basketball, jogging, cricket, cycling, rugby, motor sports, padel and golf.
A total of 85% of local football fans also show great interest in the Rugby World Cup.
“The Springboks’ World Cup victory was a historic achievement that showcased their excellence and teamwork. The significant growth in viewer numbers, compared to the 2022 World Cup football and World Cup rugby tournament in 2019, highlights the sport’s growing following in our country,” says Tumelo Selikane, managing director of Nielsen Sports SA.
Selikane says the report is a valuable resource for brands and rights holders as it helps them adapt their strategies to reach specific target audiences, understand and engage with rugby enthusiasts “making it a win-win for the sports community and businesses.” on the whole”.