Japan’s success smashes rugby broadcast records as the world watches on

After growing global TV audiences throughout the pool phase, Sunday's match against South Africa is likely to hit a new peak for live sport in Japan.

TOKYO, 19 Oct - Japan’s journey to the Rugby World Cup 2019 quarter-finals has captured the imagination of a nation and this weekend’s match against South Africa is set to smash all previous rugby television records and set another live audience record for sport in Japan this year.

Japan’s sensational victory over Scotland, which secured the Brave Blossoms’ first-ever quarter-final, attracted an enormous 53.7 per cent peak audience share on NTV, representing a 54.8 million audience. This is a record for any rugby match and also greater than the audience achieved for the FIFA World Cup final in Japan on NHK in 2002.

The Brave Blossoms have been capturing hearts and minds across Japan and around the world and the broadcast figures show a picture of attraction, with audiences progressively building across the pool phase. 

Japan’s opening match against Russia attracted a peak audience of 26 million, Japan’s ‘Sensation in Shizuoka’ delivered a 29.5 million audience, while a dramatic end to the match against Samoa attracted a peak of 47 million.

With records tumbling at a remarkable Rugby World Cup, Japan’s matches now occupy the top four biggest domestic audiences ever achieved for a rugby match, demonstrating the huge potential and appetite for rugby in Japan.

It is not just in Japan where the host nation has been winning hearts and minds. In the UK, the Japan versus Scotland match last weekend attracted a peak audience on ITV of 4.1 million.

On social media, there were 13 million views of the official Rugby World Cup 2019 Japanese language Twitter media account on the day of the Japan versus Scotland match, more than double the views of the English language account.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Japan 2019 is already one of the greatest Rugby World Cups, characterised by the incredible warmth and support of the Japanese public.

“These figures reflect the power of sport to unite a nation, the awakening of Japan to rugby and how the heroics of the Brave Blossoms have captured hearts and minds around the world.”

RNS sw