Rugby rocks the world

It seems the entire rugby world is watching New Zealand at the moment – at least on World Cup weekends.

RWC 2011 confirmed the viewership figures of the semi-final play-offs and the greatest numbers were a 73% audience share in France.

Les Bleus may have played the worst rugby at this tournament, but the French public interest in their performance was at a record high.

Among the records broken included:
*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

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 3.23 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.