Avatar photo

By Sports Reporter

Journalist


URC a hit with fans as millions tune in: All the TV numbers

The Stormers were the most viewed team in the league with their total audience coming in at over 7.2million.


More than 34 million television and streaming viewers tuned in to watch the first season of the United Rugby Championship in 2021/22.

This was announced by the organisers of the URC on Wednesday.

Here then are the numbers behind the record-breaking audiences: 

Regular Season

The audience for the entire 2021/22 season reached a high mark of 34.6million across 7,000-plus hours of coverage.

That figure of 34.6m was an increase of 169% compared to the 2020/21 PRO14 and Rainbow Cup campaigns combined. 

  • The cumulative average audience per game during the season was 230k which represented a 109% increase on 20/21.
  • A cumulative audience of almost 3 million people tuned into Round 3 with the figure of 2,892,000 setting a new record for the highest audience for a single round in the league’s history.
  • In total, four rounds eclipsed an audience of 2 million, seven rounds drew more than 1.5 million and 6 of the remaining 7 rounds all attracted a minimum viewership of 1 million.
  • The average audience per round in the regular season was 1.7 million.
  • The cumulative audience from Italy was 1.6 million.

URC Grand Final and Play-Offs

The first Grand Final took place in Cape Town, South Africa between the Stormers and Bulls and set a new TV milestone for the league.

A total of 1.25 million watched the Stormers win their first URC title and set a new record for the league decider. Although the Grand Final was an all-South African affair 41% of the audience came from outside of the territory with RTÉ’s live coverage in the Republic of Ireland accounting for 15%.

This trend of interest was a hallmark of the entire URC Play-Offs which also set a record for viewership with 3.8 million across seven games. The largest viewership for the Play-Offs came in the Stormers v Ulster Final Four game where the audience hit 754k while the other Semi-Final encounter between Leinster and the Bulls drew 472k.

Including the URC Grand Final, the average audience per game in the Play-Offs was 537k.

Top 10 most watched regular season games

In the Top 10 most watched games of the regular season, Munster featured five times, the Sharks were involved in three with Ospreys, Ulster and the Stormers appeared twice.

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

  1. R3 Ospreys v Sharks  580,026
  2. R3 Cardiff v Bulls 560,886
  3. R2 Munster v Stormers 538,909
  4. R6 Sharks v 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 v Stormers 445,471

Most Watched Teams

Helped by their appearance in the URC Grand Final, the Stormers were the most viewed team in the league with their total audience coming in at over 7.2million. The URC champions are followed by the Bulls, Munster, Sharks and Leinster for audiences across the entire season.

The Stormers and Munster were the most watched teams in South Africa and Ireland, respectively with Ospreys leading the interest in Wales, Benetton were No 1 in Italy and Edinburgh topped the pile in Scotland.

Derby matches which are at the heart of the tribal rivalries in the URC also performed well with only one South African fixture 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 in 523k in a game that was also No 5 in the list of Top 10 most watched in the regular season. Munster also feature in four of the Top 5 derby 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

Top 5 Games from Ireland

  • 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 Zebre v Lions 295,647
  • R1 Benetton v Stormers 213,754
  • R10 Benetton v Sharks 202,283
  • R4 Benetton v Ospreys 196,817

Top 5 Games from 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 Games from Wales

  • R3 Ospreys v Sharks 580,026
  • R3 Cardiff v Bulls 560,886
  • R5 Ospreys v Munster 480,652
  • R4 Dragons v Stormers 445,471
  • R3 Scarlets v Munster 330,313