Record TV audience tunes in to RWC 2011

(RUGBYWORLDCUP.COM) Wednesday 19 October 2011

• Record New Zealand television audience watch New Zealand defeat Australia 
• Biggest Australian television audience since RWC 2003
• 73 per cent audience share in France as Les Bleus book Final place
• Highest audience of RWC 2011 in UK sees France beat Wales

Rugby World Cup Limited is delighted with television audience figures as Rugby’s showcase event reaches its finale this weekend.

In New Zealand a record 1.97 million cumulative television audience tuned in to the host nation’s 20-6 semi-final victory over Australia via TV One, SKY, TV3 and Maori Television, not including the significant number who would have watched the compelling action in public venues across the country or online on demand.

Australians also tuned into the match in record numbers. A massive nationwide television audience of 3.234 million people watched the match – smashing the all-time Pay TV viewership record for Fox Sports and topping the free-to-air ratings on Channel Nine.

No Rugby match since the Rugby World Cup Final in 2003 has delivered an audience of the same magnitude in Australia. The tournament decider in Sydney eight years ago was watched by more than 4 million Australians. Channel Nine’s free-to-air broadcast attracted 2.5 million viewers.

It was a similar picture in France where TF1 attracted an audience of 9.5 million for the semi-final between France and Wales despite the 10:00 kick-off time. The average audience for the match, which saw France secure their first place in a Final since 1999 was equal to a viewing share of 73 per cent. 

In the United Kingdom, ITV registered its highest audience of RWC 2011 with an average of 5.9 million viewers watching France's 9-8 victory over Wales. The last 15 minutes of the match netted a peak audience of 6.6 million - a 58 per cent share.

Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Rugby World Cup 2011 has been an exceptional event on and off the field and what we are seeing with the strong viewing figures is a reflection of the highly competitive and compelling matches and the tournament’s position as a truly major international event.”

“The audience figures in New Zealand highlight the massive level of interest in what is the biggest event ever to be hosted in the country. Rugby World Cup 2011 has captured the hearts and minds of a nation who have been exceptionally welcoming hosts. The scene is now set for a thrilling climax to the tournament.”