Playing the numbers game from the Rugby World Cup
A promise was made before the Rugby World Cup 2011 that New Zealand would be a stadium of four million. But how close did we Kiwis come to making that dream a reality?
I decided before the World Cup kicked off to keep track of crowd numbers and compare them to ticket sales just before the kick-off date. Before kick-off the numbers looked bleak; only half the tickets had sold and some games looked like they might only have a man and his dog turning up.
But New Zealanders supported by 115,000 international visitors kept the promise, and the competition was a major success.
But what about the TV numbers?
From a New Zealand TV perspective, the ratings could not have been better: a combined total of 30,000,000 New Zealanders watched all 48 games, which averages 620,000 per game across the stations Maori-TV, TV-1, TV-3, Sky Sport-1.
Getting figures for the rugby channel hosted on the pay-TV network Sky was difficult. Sky refused to release the data except in one instance. however a vote taken on the website which hosts New Zealand TV ratings suggested that about seven percent of rugby fans watch their live rugby on the channel.
However, if you add to this the fact that 1,683,000 rugby fans attended games, it can only leaves one to conclude that us Kiwis love our rugby but more importantly it wasn’t just the diehards who embraced this event. It was the average Kiwi who opened their wallets to purchase tickets which were priced well and truly above market value.
The fact that more money was grossed from ticket sales to the World Cup final then from the entire last Lions tour shows the high prices which were paid.
In my humble opinion, my Kiwi brothers and sisters did the nation proud in how they put on this event.
Australia was the only other nation where getting accurate information on the RWC ratings is straight forward and easy, so how did things go across the ditch?
When it came to supporting at least by sitting in front of a TV and watching some rugby go, not as good as it could be for some but for others better than expected (it was certainly better than I expected).
The war for TV ratings in Australia was hampered by the fact that the both the NRL and AFL were still on going when the World Cup kicked off, but even then some of the figures are surprisingly good – of the first up 40 games only 15 did not register a result within the TV-ranking stats – and those figures range from 28,000 on the low side to 3,000,000 for the semi-final between New Zealand and the Wallabies
For a country which has limited affinity for the game of rugby, the result is especially pleasing to my eyes. Australians also made up the biggest portion of travelers to the World Cup. So from this Kiwi to our Aussie brothers, a big thank you for doing your part in making this World Cup a success for New Zealand.
In all honesty, we needed Australia’s rugby fraternity to embrace this competition as much as us Kiwis for this to be a true world success – oh, and my apologies for the way some of you were treated by us Kiwis.
A combined total of 14,000,000 Australians watched World Cup games across all 48 matches. This figure is better than I expected.
Who would’ve thought, the USA watches rugby! I only managed to find two figures for our American friends that happened to be their opening game against Ireland and the final game between France and the All Blacks.
America is a large country with great potential if the hype is correct and it lives up to that potential as they have the money, power and population to hurt us, but for the moment across both games only 1,717,000 tuned into games, at least from the figures I could find.
UK and France
This is where the TV figures start getting big. The UK having a combined viewing total of 48,000,000 across the 48 games with only a handful of those games recorded considering that they made up Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England. I was actually surprised how few of the games were recorded, which was only 13 – anyway it still left a staggering 3,600,000 tuning in per-game and 6,300,000 watching the final, which did not feature one of their teams.
France, on the other hand, is where the numbers game is really starting to come into play – they recorded the numbers of only 14 of the 48 games but had 76,452,000 combined total or a average of 5,460,000 per game good on the French from a TV ratings point of view, and from the view that it was mostly played at crazy morning hours for them the numbers are surprisingly good.
For the final figures well spread over the above nation states or in the case of the UK – the total figure for all recorded games 171,720,504 with 29,430,530 tuning into the final. I am sure this figure will grow a tiny bit once someone works out the South Africa, Argentina, Canada and Ireland numbers and throws them into the mix.
All up I am very happy with the results from both the attendance and the international ratings.
Please find my detailed spreadsheet for download.