Stormers most watched as over 34m rugby fans tune in for URC’s debut season

Regular season

According to Nielsen Sports, URC’s viewership for the entire 2021/22 season peaked at 34.6 million over more than 7,000 hours of coverage.

This figure of 34.6 million represents a 169% increase over the 2020/21 PRO14 and Rainbow Cup campaigns combined.

The average cumulative viewership per game over the season was 230,000, which is a 109% increase from 20/21.

A cumulative audience of nearly 3 million tuned in to Round 3 with the figure of 2,892,000 setting a new single-round viewership record in league history.

A total of four towers eclipsed an audience of 2 million, seven towers attracted over 1.5 million, and 6 of the remaining 7 towers all attracted a minimum audience of 1 million.

Average viewership per inning in the regular season was 1.7 million. Italy’s cumulative audience was 1.6 million.

URC Grand Final and Playoffs

The first-ever United Rugby Championship grand final took place in Cape Town, South Africa, between the Stormers and the Bulls and set a new televised milestone for the league.

A total of 1.25 million people watched as the Stormers won their first URC title and set a new league decider record.

Although the final was an entirely South African affair, 41% of the audience came from outside the territory, with RTÉ’s live coverage in the Republic of Ireland accounting for 15%.

This interest trend has been a hallmark of the entire URC playoffs, which also set a viewing record of 3.8 million viewers over seven games.

The highest number of viewers for the playoffs came in the Stormers semi-final game against Ulster where the audience reached 754k while the other last four encounter between Leinster and the Bulls drew 472k.

Including the URC final, the average viewership per playoff game was 537,000.

Top 10 most watched regular season games in 2021/22

In the Top 10 most-watched games of the regular season, Munster have played five times, the Sharks have been involved in three with Ospreys, Ulster and Stormers appearing twice.

The most-watched game of the regular season was the Ospreys’ Round 3 game with the Sharks, which was seen by a combined audience of 581k on BBC Wales, SuperSport and Premier Sports.

1. R3 Ospreys vs. Sharks 580,026

2. R3 Cardiff v Bulls 560,886

3. R2 Munster v Stormers 538,909

4. R6 Sharks vs. Scarlets 531,421

5. R10 Munster v Ulster 523,707

6. R4 Munster v Connacht 521,110

7. R1 Munster v Sharks 484,267

8. R5 Ospreys v Munster 480,652

9. R4 Ulster v Lions 468,993

10. R4 Dragons vs. Stormers 445,471

Most Watched Clubs

Helped by their appearance in the URC Finals, the Stormers were the most-watched team in the league with a total viewership of over 7.2 million.

The URC champions are watched by the Bulls, Munster, Sharks and Leinster for the public throughout the season.

Stormers and Munster were the most-watched sides in South Africa and Ireland, respectively with the Ospreys leading interest in Wales, Benetton were No.1 in Italy and Edinburgh leading the pack in Scotland.

The Derby matches which are at the heart of tribal rivalries in the URC also fared well with only one South African game breaking the dominance of the all-Irish clashes.

Top 5 Derby audiences

The most-watched derby games of the season all took place in Ireland, with Munster’s R10 clash with Ulster drawing 523k in a match that was also No. 5 in the top 10 most-watched list in regular season. Munster also feature in four of the derby’s top 5 audiences.

R10 Munster v Ulster 523,707

R4 Munster v Connacht 521,110

R16 Ulster v Munster 428,709

R15 Munster v Leinster 402,534

R6 Leinster v Ulster 401,603

Top 5 games from South Africa

R6 Sharks v Scarlets 531,421

R17 Stormers v Leinster 417,323

R7 Lions v Munster 394,416

R16 Sharks v Leinster 361,290

R17 Bulls v Glasgow Warriors 323,386

Ireland’s top 5 games

R2 Munster v Stormers 538,909

R10 Munster v Ulster 523,707

R4 Munster v Connacht 521,110

R1 Munster v Sharks 484,267

R4 Ulster v Lions 468,993

Top 5 games from Italy

R11 Zebre v Munster 439,701

R1 Zebra vs. Lions 295,647

R1 Benetton v Stormers 213,754

R10 Benetton v Sharks 202 283

R4 Benetton v Ospreys 196,817

Top 5 games in Scotland

R3 Edinburgh v Stormers 382,185

R3 Glasgow Warriors v Lions 363,674

R4 Edinburgh v Bulls 260,448

R5 Glasgow Warriors v Leinster 224,494

R2 Glasgow Warriors v Sharks 209,027

Top 5 Wales games

R3 Ospreys vs Sharks 580,026

R3 Cardiff v Bulls 560,886

R5 Ospreys v Munster 480,652

R4 Dragons vs Stormers 445 471

R3 Scarlets v Munster 330 313

Chester T. Johnson