All Blacks' Rugby World Cup opening defeat drew more viewers than NZ Warriors' loss to Penrith Panthers, official figures show

The All Blacks' Rugby World Cup opening defeat to France comfortably outrated NZ Warriors' loss to Penrith Panthers on Saturday night, official figures from Sky show.

With last weekend being a blockbuster for Kiwi sports fans, audiences turned out in their droves to watch both codes, as well as Israel Adesanya's defeat to UFC rival Sean Strickland.

But with build-up largely from across the Tasman, speculation was rife as to which event would draw in more viewers.

Warriors chief executive Cameron George told the Daily Telegraph he had "no doubt our game at 6pm Saturday night will beat the All Blacks World Cup match".

However, official viewing figures released to Newshub show the All Blacks comfortably won the battle.  

Across Sky Sport and free-to-air channel Sky Open, more than one million viewers tuned in from 7am on Saturday morning to see the All Blacks suffer the historic loss to France - New Zealand's first pool stage defeat at a Rugby World Cup.

On top of that, an additional 400,000 viewers watched the World Cup opener on Sky's streaming platform Sky Sport Now, while 10,000 people watched the All Blacks' loss in te reo Māori.

By contrast, 700,000 people tuned in to watch the Warriors, who themselves were beaten 32-6 in their NRL qualifying final against the Panthers.

Like the All Blacks, the Warriors' loss was also shown free-to-air on Sky Open. 

However, those numbers do not take into account any additional viewership from Sky Sport Now, which Sky was unable to provide Newshub.

Both codes are in line for a repeat this coming Saturday, with the All Blacks taking on Namibia at 7am, before the Warriors' season goes on the line, up against Newcastle Knights in the NRL's semi-final.