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URC TV viewing figures

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Post by Brendan Tue 26 Apr 2022, 10:57 pm

https://m.independent.ie/sport/rugby/pro14/munster-top-leinster-in-urc-tv-ratings-battle-41588175.html

https://www.unitedrugby.com/latest/news/more-fans-watching-urc-than-ever-before-as-league-breaks-its-audience-record

Doesn't go into massive details on figures but we know the following

Munster are the most viewed team followed by Leinster.
Sharks, Connacht and Stormers close out the top 5.
First 12 rounds viewing figures is 13.3m, previous record was 12.9m for the entire Pro14/Rainbow Cup 20/21 season.  By projected numbers would imply that it will be over 20m by the end of the regular season as expected to be over 1m per round from R13 on.
Italian veiwership has topped 900k and should top 1m by R18, which shows continued growth in the game there.
Premier Sport have increased their viewers aswell which may be down to Scottish/English markets
Record for 1 round is 1.7m in round 2

Also mentions social media ahead of what they expected aswell.

Seems like things are going in the right direction.

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Post by RugbyFan100 Wed 27 Apr 2022, 12:18 pm

It wasn't likely to decrease with the addition of a country's 4 strongest sides and a population of 60,000,000.

I'd love to see Welsh viewing figures / subscriptions to Premier Sports

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Post by Brendan Wed 27 Apr 2022, 3:41 pm

As in most countries soccer is the most popular sport.  In 19/20 season the two games between the Chiefs and Pirates got 80k and 88k.  Not sure the last time two SA rugby teams got over 50k against each other.

The current figures have beaten the previous record by round 12, so it could nearly double the figures on last year record which for 1/3 of the season had the 4 SA teams.  Lets not forget last season it was the only way to see the game and everyone had nothing to do.  That is massive growth which ever way you look at it.  Averaging over 1m per round makes the league highly sellable to sponsers which brings in more money.

Having it growing in Italy also shows the growth in the biggest potential market as it's GDP most be about the same as the rest of the league combined (If we are only looking at countries rather than rugby populations like you did with SA).  Finding an Italian company to fund Zebre becomes more possible the bigger the viewers.  Going off the 900k for 12 weekends is about 75k which is about 10 times the number in the stands for home games.  That's great for them getting commercial deals and increasing funding.

The fact that Premier Sports has grown veiwership even with all the FTA says people are willing to pay for the product and will make it more attractive to other providers.  Personally I would like it to stay on Premier as they have so much rugby already and have helped build the product.

The Welsh got what they wanted which was games on BBC.  Can't see how they haven't grown.  To be fair 4 of the top 5 viewed teams are the top 4.  Having Welsh teams in the top 4 would probably increase numbers.  Not sure what else the league can do.  Welsh and Irish ave the same set up for TV with a native language and English speaking channel each showing games.  The fact Connacht are in the Top 5 most viewed doesnt surprise me as their games have been end to end stuff.  Again maybe the Welsh Rugby population is only small and it's not as big as people think it is.

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Post by Guest Wed 27 Apr 2022, 4:17 pm

Well the Welsh population is small, period. 3 millions vs South Africa's 60 million! Ouch!

Certainly if the regions were better more people would watch. Goes without saying.

Do the figures above include the Welsh games on BBC2 Wales and S4C? If so, that will account for some of the increase in viewing figures after it moved to being on free to air more than in previous years. Perhaps not much of an impact, but some. Every little helps. Must have scooped up some Welsh armchair fans with that move.

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Post by RugbyFan100 Wed 27 Apr 2022, 4:41 pm

I binned Premier sports a month ago. Even at a tenner a month it was awful value for money. Tinpot rubbish channel with awful coverage.

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Post by Kingshu Wed 27 Apr 2022, 6:36 pm

The Oracle wrote:Well the Welsh population is small, period.  3 millions vs South Africa's 60 million!  Ouch!

Certainly if the regions were better more people would watch.  Goes without saying.  

Do the figures above include the Welsh games on BBC2 Wales and S4C?  If so, that will account for some of the increase in viewing figures after it moved to being on free to air more than in previous years.  Perhaps not much of an impact, but some.  Every little helps.  Must have scooped up some Welsh armchair fans with that move.

I dont think it does include BBC2 Wales after all Ulster are arguably the best supported team in the League, and are better supported in Ravenhill than Leinster are in the RDS, never mind getting more people through the turnsiles than Munster. Ulster could very well be the most watched team, yet somehow the figures would have you believe more people watch Connacht than Ulster? I don't believe that for an instant. They must not have had BBC figures to add to it, its the only reason Ibcan think off that they don't have Ulster listed.

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 27 Apr 2022, 7:54 pm

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Post by Brendan Wed 27 Apr 2022, 8:09 pm

Surely it does include BBC as it is TV viewing for the whole league. I am sure if it didn't include BBC it would have said it to make the figures even better.

I was surprised Ulster and Bulls weren't there but maybe they just missed out on the top 5. Connacht are usually shown on TG4 so might be why they are so high up.

I think Welsh numbers are up but some people just want to sell a different story.

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Post by Guest Wed 27 Apr 2022, 9:52 pm

I doubt they’d only include Premier sport and South Africa TV. Would they? Why just choose 2 of the broadcasters? Can SA access premier sport? Is that where they get the Stormers and Sharks data from?

Brendan, twice on this thread you’ve had a bit of a dig at the Welsh. Wrong thread perhaps? Where is anyone ‘trying to sell a different story’? There are only 7 posts!

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 27 Apr 2022, 10:07 pm

In fairness there are only a few Ulster games on BBC NI so really that would be down to those watching on Premier for most games which may explain the less viewers than the other teams who may be on free tv.

South Africa cannot access Premier, the games are all on SuperSport in South Africa.


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Post by Guest Wed 27 Apr 2022, 10:13 pm

Exactly, Neil. So how do we know that Stormers and Sharks are in the top 5? It must be figures from all of the broadcasters, including BBC and the local language channels?

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 27 Apr 2022, 10:41 pm

I would assume it is all broadcasters yes as it does not make any notes on the article to say they are not included. The only one that may not be included may be URC TV but I'd guess that would have a minimal contribution anyways.

It compiled by Neilson Sports so also could be how they do their metrics as well, sometimes their metrics are a bit weird.

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Post by Kingshu Wed 27 Apr 2022, 11:45 pm

Brendan wrote:Surely it does include BBC as it is TV viewing for the whole league.  I am sure if it didn't include BBC it would have said it to make the figures even better.

I was surprised Ulster and Bulls weren't there but maybe they just missed out on the top 5.  Connacht are usually shown on TG4 so might be why they are so high up.

I think Welsh numbers are up but some people just want to sell a different story.

You dont really believe more people watched Connacht than Ulster, given Ulster usually have double the number of fans through the gate eaxh week either there is a trick being missed by not having Ulster on RTE or TG4, or what is more likily not all likely is some viewers were not counted as Ulster would be number 1 or top 3 at the very very least, not watched less than Connacht. That is just not believable.

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Post by Old Man Thu 28 Apr 2022, 4:41 am

It is worth noting that the URC is only available on Supersport and not free to air SABC in South Africa.

So working on a 60 million population is wrong.

The national broadcaster SABC broadcasts the French Top 14 and averages a viewership of 250 000 per match, which is for a tournament with no SA interest other than SA players featuring in teams.

I cannot find the figures for viewership on Supersport for the URC, however the article showing the SABC viewership say it is more than the URC numbers


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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 28 Apr 2022, 6:59 am

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Post by Brendan Thu 28 Apr 2022, 7:55 am

Kingshu wrote:
Brendan wrote:Surely it does include BBC as it is TV viewing for the whole league.  I am sure if it didn't include BBC it would have said it to make the figures even better.

I was surprised Ulster and Bulls weren't there but maybe they just missed out on the top 5.  Connacht are usually shown on TG4 so might be why they are so high up.

I think Welsh numbers are up but some people just want to sell a different story.

You dont really believe more people watched Connacht than Ulster, given Ulster usually have double the number of fans through the gate eaxh week either there is a trick being missed  by not having Ulster on RTE or TG4, or what is more likily not all likely is some viewers were not counted as Ulster would be number 1 or top 3 at the very very least, not watched less than Connacht. That is just not believable.

I agree Ulster should be higher than Connacht but one is on FTA, mainly TG4 due to its main viewing audience, and based in Galway.

I assume it's down to money that certain areas have better/worse TV viewing deals.

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Post by Brendan Thu 28 Apr 2022, 8:07 am

The Oracle wrote:I doubt they’d only include Premier sport and South Africa TV. Would they? Why just choose 2 of the broadcasters? Can SA access premier sport? Is that where they get the Stormers and Sharks data from?

Brendan, twice on this thread you’ve had a bit of a dig at the Welsh. Wrong thread perhaps? Where is anyone ‘trying to sell a different story’? There are only 7 posts!

A Welsh poster wanted to know what the Welsh figures were, implying that maybe they weren't very good. Reply was to them.

I am confident that Welsh figures are up if everywhere else is aswell. It just seems certain posters (the loud minority as in most countries) take any good news article about the league and turn it into a "but not in Wales" view on it.

Some of said posters talked about how the Welsh Prem was going to steal a march on the URC when they were on BBC and URC/Pro14 was on Premier Sports. Now it's back on the FTA those posters still not happy.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 28 Apr 2022, 8:22 am

Until we know what’s included and what excluded it is all speculative.

To be frank I simply don’t believe Connacht has more viewers than Ulster if the 6 home. games on the BBC are included.

Secondly does this include away fixtures as well as home fixtures?
We don’t know

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Post by Kingshu Thu 28 Apr 2022, 8:25 am

Brendan wrote:
Kingshu wrote:
Brendan wrote:Surely it does include BBC as it is TV viewing for the whole league.  I am sure if it didn't include BBC it would have said it to make the figures even better.

I was surprised Ulster and Bulls weren't there but maybe they just missed out on the top 5.  Connacht are usually shown on TG4 so might be why they are so high up.

I think Welsh numbers are up but some people just want to sell a different story.

You dont really believe more people watched Connacht than Ulster, given Ulster usually have double the number of fans through the gate eaxh week either there is a trick being missed  by not having Ulster on RTE or TG4, or what is more likily not all likely is some viewers were not counted as Ulster would be number 1 or top 3 at the very very least, not watched less than Connacht. That is just not believable.

I agree Ulster should be higher than Connacht but one is on FTA, mainly TG4 due to its main viewing audience, and based in Galway.

I assume it's down to money that certain areas have better/worse TV viewing deals.

Is BBC NI not also free to air? So Connacht having higher figures due to being FTA doesn't hold water.
6 of Ulsters home games were/are also on BBC NI were most Ulster supporters would watch the game when on tv.

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Post by Guest Thu 28 Apr 2022, 8:40 am

Brendan wrote:
The Oracle wrote:I doubt they’d only include Premier sport and South Africa TV. Would they? Why just choose 2 of the broadcasters? Can SA access premier sport? Is that where they get the Stormers and Sharks data from?

Brendan, twice on this thread you’ve had a bit of a dig at the Welsh. Wrong thread perhaps? Where is anyone ‘trying to sell a different story’? There are only 7 posts!

A Welsh poster wanted to know what the Welsh figures were, implying that maybe they weren't very good.  Reply was to them.

I am confident that Welsh figures are up if everywhere else is aswell.  It just seems certain posters (the loud minority as in most countries) take any good news article about the league and turn it into a "but not in Wales" view on it.

Some of said posters talked about how the Welsh Prem was going to steal a march on the URC when they were on BBC and URC/Pro14 was on Premier Sports.  Now it's back on the FTA those posters still not happy.

I think you’re cross-threading here Brendan. No negativity on this thread at all, so far. No arguing.

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Post by LordDowlais Thu 28 Apr 2022, 9:53 am

I haven't checked, but the veiwing figures for the URC must be up on what they were in Wales, surely ?

Now that more games are on terrestrial tele, more people will be watching it, that's a no brainer. I only hope more people who stopped watching the league when it was put behind a paywall now start watching it again, which can only be good for the game.

Putting it on Premier sports was a bad idea, even if it was a good deal for the average fan, it was a money grab by the league that backfired on them in Wales.

Hopefully now though, we will have a recovery, albeit a very long and arduous one, but a recovery none the less.

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 28 Apr 2022, 10:58 am

I really don't think its that hard to believe Connacht have more viewers up to now.

Most (if not all) of Connacht's games are available free to air in ROI.  Which means anyone who likes rugby in the south would be able to and may watch it, it's not as simple as comparing supporter bases.  Ulster is better supported sure but Connacht being on free to air means anyone in the South can watch the game and it won't be only their own supporters.

Most of Ulsters games are on Premier so that would be a difference, also remember this report only counts up to Round 12 so any of Ulsters games on free to air after that would not be in this report. I believe Cardiff R-13, Munster R-16 and the upcoming Lions are all free to air and so would not have been counted in these figures meaning only 3 of Ulsters would have been free to air.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 28 Apr 2022, 11:02 am

6 of Ulster 9 home games were/are on the BBC.

We don’t know if this is home games only, or away games as well.
Too many unknowns to evaluate

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Thu 28 Apr 2022, 11:21 am

RugbyFan100 wrote:I binned Premier sports a month ago. Even at a tenner a month it was awful value for money. Tinpot rubbish channel with awful coverage.
How do you watch your beloved Scarlets then?

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Post by RugbyFan100 Thu 28 Apr 2022, 11:26 am

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
RugbyFan100 wrote:I binned Premier sports a month ago. Even at a tenner a month it was awful value for money. Tinpot rubbish channel with awful coverage.
How do you watch your beloved Scarlets then?

Most games have been on terrestrial tv here.

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Post by Kingshu Thu 28 Apr 2022, 8:04 pm

neilthom7 wrote:I really don't think its that hard to believe Connacht have more viewers up to now.

Most (if not all) of Connacht's games are available free to air in ROI.  Which means anyone who likes rugby in the south would be able to and may watch it, it's not as simple as comparing supporter bases.  Ulster is better supported sure but Connacht being on free to air means anyone in the South can watch the game and it won't be only their own supporters.

Most of Ulsters games are on Premier so that would be a difference, also remember this report only counts up to Round 12 so any of Ulsters games on free to air after that would not be in this report. I believe Cardiff R-13, Munster R-16 and the upcoming Lions are all free to air and so would not have been counted in these figures meaning only 3 of Ulsters would have been free to air.

Only two Ulster game has been solely on Premier sport. That was against Glasgow and scarlets
Against Benetton it was Premier, BBC NI, TG4
Against Lions it was Premier, BBC NI, RTE
Against Connacht it was Premier, BBC NI, TG4
Against Leinstert it was Premier, TG4
Against Cardiff it was Premier, BBC NI, TG4, RTE
Against Munster it was Premier, BBC NI, TG4, RTE and final game against sharks will be shown on BBC NI TG4 RTE and premier.
Against Benetton it was Premier, BBC NI, TG4
https://ulster.rugby/content/how-to-watch-every-ulster-game-in-the-urc

So Im still not getting it?

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 29 Apr 2022, 10:04 am

Well firstly you can take Sharks off that list as we haven't played them yet, also Munster and Cardiff too since they came after Round 12 which is when the article covers up to.  So that leaves only 4 home games for Ulster that were on free tv of which 3 were on BBC NI (this will make a difference too as for any not on BBC NI they may have been geoblocked in NI)

We also don't know how far ahead of Ulster Connacht were in combined viewership as only the 5 team names were released not their figures. So could literally have been 2 viewers for all we know.

2 of those games from Ulster were v Lions (when they had no internationals and were strugling) and Benneton so I think it's fair to say they may not exactly have been appointment viewing for many people.

Connachts home games were all on free to air tv and were during the first 12 rounds (in no particular order) Bulls, DHL Stormers, Dragons, Ulster, Ospreys, Munster and Glasgow.

So thats 7 games on free to air compared to Ulsters 4.  Like Ulster they had 2 Irish derbies which I assume would have been better watched than the other games.  Also considering Stormers are another of the heavily watched teams it stands to reason that match may have been watched decently.  Ospreys game was also on free to air in Wales and so likely helped it too.

All in all I don't think that with 3 more free to air games and the class of games it is so difficult to get that Connacht had more viewers in the first 12 rounds.

I also worked with Nielsen Sports (who compiled the figures) when I was working for Sky, they have been doing this for over 3 decades and are very accurate so I have zero reason to doubt they are right about this.

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Post by Old Man Fri 29 Apr 2022, 10:23 am

Lions still have no internationals Wink

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 29 Apr 2022, 10:48 am

Following on from Neil’s post if the figures are comparing 7 games for one team to 4 for another

Quite frankly they are meaningless.
Let’s have full information based on all games, for all teams and including all TV channels.

Anything less is useless

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 29 Apr 2022, 3:25 pm

Yeah that article was really just to show that they had already beat the tv record for the league. The bit about the top 5 teams was just thrown in really as a sidenote

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Post by Intotouch Sat 30 Apr 2022, 3:13 pm

Why are people assuming that everyone in Ireland can watch BBC NI? My Mum in Wexford can’t. She’d need a different to/ aerial. She does get RTE and TG4 so soda watch Connacht. Also Connacht are a lot of people’s second favourite team in Ireland and play a good fast flowing style. It makes perfect sense to me that they gat more viewers than Ulster for these reasons. Irish rugby fans like to check on how other provinces are doing, ideally for free if it’s not their team, but if you don’t have access to the matches on to that’s either not possible or awkward.

The news is great that viewing figures are up.

Not having easy access to a variety of matches (non local teams) shown on one to station or site for free does keep the competition parochial in support. Eg if I only watch Glasgow play twice a year because I don’t live in Scotland I’m not going to connect with the players or team and get enthusiastic about watching them play against the Bulls. The genuinely domestic leagues will have an advantage over the URC until this happens. Something the URC could do right now is have an online magazine programme with highlights and commentary to hopefully interest people in teams outside of their parish.

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