Thursday, October 29th, 2015 - Roy Morgan Research

The Wallabies and All Blacks haven’t met in a World Cup final before, and antipodean rugby fans will have to rise very early this Sunday to see which side will be the first to take the trophy for a third time. In Australia, around 1 in 7 people almost always or occasionally watch the Rugby World Cup on TV—but in New Zealand, the viewership rate is 2 in 5, data for Australia and New Zealand from Roy Morgan Research shows.

Just 7.4% of Australians (aged 14+) almost always watch Rugby World Cup matches on TV and another 6.8% watch occasionally (presumably when the home side is doing well!). But 27.9% of New Zealanders (14+) almost always watch, with an additional 12.2% tuning in on occasion (perhaps because the side always does well!).  

Australia has over five times the population of New Zealand, but potentially fewer than twice as many viewers overall: 2.77 million Aussies and 1.46 million Kiwis sometimes or always watch the World Cup.

Australians and New Zealanders who watch the Rugby World Cup

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2014–June 2015, samples n = 51,371 Australians 14+ and 5,983 New Zealanders 14+

In both Australia and New Zealand, 45% of Rugby World Cup viewers are aged 50 and over and only 27% are aged 14 to 34.

However in Australia, the vast bulk of viewers are men while in New Zealand the rugby audience is more gender balanced. Over 7 in 10 Australian viewers are men, compared with 55% of New Zealanders watching.

John La Rosa, General Manager Client Services - ANZ, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“It is clear that the All Blacks can claim a much stronger level of support back home than can the Wallabies—and this support is more evenly distributed across demographics and geography.  

In New Zealand there is virtually no difference in the level of support between North and South, with 4 in 10 residents of either island saying they always or occasionally watch the Rugby World Cup on television. In Australia, however, there is a clear north-south divide that generally reflects overall interest in the code of Rugby compared with Aussie Rules. People in Sydney, Brisbane or Canberra are two to three times more likely to watch than those in Melbourne or Adelaide.

“Sports organisations, broadcasters, sponsors and advertisers in both countries need to understand regional variance, and track changing viewership rates across demographics and geography—especially after historic victories in international world cup events!” 

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Roy Morgan Research


Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
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