Rugby World Cup sees fan engagement grow in opening fortnight

This year’s Rugby World Cup has proved to be a hit with fans across the world, with World Rugby having already accrued over 654 million video views across its Rugby World Cup social media platforms over the first fortnight of Japan 2019. 

On the tournament’s official app, total screen views are almost double that of the first fortnight of the 2015 tournament, with 96 million views registered already.

Week two of the tournament had also seen a jump in screen views, with an increase of 19 per cent compared to week one, which is said to have been boosted by the 20 per cent growth in subscriptions from Asian-based fans.

It comes as no surprise that Japan’s victory over Ireland saw the highest number of fans tune into coverage, having racked up seven times as many users and screen views as the tournament’s overall average match engagement.

The growth in engagement is said to have stemmed from World Rugby’s new digital strategy which has been geared towards attracting a wider Asian audience to the tournament, led by the governing body’s chief marketing officer Marissa Pace. 

Speaking to Sportspromedia, Pace explained that the overall aim was to grow the Japanese audience by 50 per cent. She said: “It’s not just volume. At 4.6 per cent engagement, we’re also doing this with almost twice the overall engagement rate of week two during England 2015 (2.6 per cent). 

“Our Japanese speaking Instagram channel also has an engagement rate of nearly 30 per cent, [and] we’ve added 615,000 new subscribers on social in total.

“Two years ago, our website goals were to grow our Japanese audience by 50 per cent and we’ve reached that goal many times over since then, and Japan has been the second highest country in terms of traffic to our website.

“We are just trying to move the ball in every direction and hopefully, by the end of the tournament, we are going to have some amazing numbers for you. What’s most important to me is what that does for our audience and how it is getting them to come back to our platforms and website and our app. That’s what we’re working towards.”

England’s fans have shown the second highest level of engagement in terms of website visits, behind Japan which has registered more than triple the page views than users in the UK.

25-34 year olds seem to show the highest level of engagement, having formed the largest demographic on Rugby World Cup’s Facebook channel, at 29 per cent. 

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