The 2019 Rugby World Cup, held in Japan last year, was the most watched rugby event ever, World Rugby announced on Monday. Over 857 million people around the world watching the action via World Rugby’s network of rights-holding broadcast partners, an increase of 26 per cent from the previous tournament in England.
South Africa’s triumph over England was the most watched Rugby World Cup final ever with an average live audience of 44.9 million fans watched the Springboks thump England.
That was an 83 per cent increase on the live television audience for the final at Twickenham four years previously, while the total viewing figure was up by 63 per cent to 51.3 million.
Interest in the UK and South Africa was high, and a combined 16.7 million people across the two countries made the final a part of their Saturday morning routine – more than double the figures achieved in those markets in 2015.
The progress of South Africa’s final opponents England helped deliver outstanding outcomes for UK rights holder ITV despite a challenging time-zone.
The peak final audience of 12.8 million and a 79 per cent audience share, was the most-watched sports event of the year and the second-most watched TV programme of the year behind Gavin and Stacey.