Sunday 22 July 2018

Women's Rugby World Cup sets new attendance and broadcast records

New Zealand celebrate after winning the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup Final at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Photo by John Dickson/Sportsfile
New Zealand celebrate after winning the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup Final at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Photo by John Dickson/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

World Rugby confirmed on Tuesday that the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup set new records for attendance, broadcasting and social and digital media engagement.

The tournament attracted 45,412 fans over 30 matches, with 17,115 fans attending the final between New Zealand and England at the Kingspan Stadium.

The semi-final between France and England set a new tournament record of a peak audience of 3.2 million on French television station France 2, while a peak of 2.65 million tuned in to ITV to watch the final - the largest single audience for a Women’s Rugby World Cup final and almost half of the audience for the men’s final at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 2017 tournament also set new social media records with 45 million views across official tournament platforms, the best-performing World Rugby event of the year and the biggest since Rugby World Cup 2015.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said that the level of coverage was a testament to the performances of the teams and that the tournament inspired a new generation of girls and boys to play rugby.

“This tournament will be remembered as a very special and ground-breaking rugby event. It raised the bar. Compelling action, huge fan interaction and a strong family feel characterised an event that captured hearts and minds beyond the traditional rugby community.

“The level of global coverage and excitement is testament to the performances of the world’s top teams and reflects the surge in interest around the world. Off the field, our friends from the IRFU did an exceptional job at hosting the event, while the volunteers and fans were simply brilliant.

“But most of all, it is the teams who deserve the praise. There is no doubt that they have inspired a new generation of girls and boys to get into rugby and while only one team can be crowned champions, all the teams were fantastic on and off the field – rugby has certainly been the winner.”

Irish Rugby Football Union President Philip Orr said: “Hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup has been a tremendous honour for Ireland and one which has been embraced enthusiastically by the Irish public.

“It has been tremendously rewarding for the IRFU to witness the level of co-operation North and South at government level, from tourism authorities, state agencies, the volunteers and of course from World Rugby who have been so committed to making this a tournament like no other. Our heartfelt thanks go to all.”

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