Rugby: World Cup 2023 sees 19 percent viewership increase, most-viewed of all time

South Africa's Siya Kolisi lifts the Rugby World Cup.
South Africa's Siya Kolisi lifts the Rugby World Cup. Photo credit: Getty Images

The 2023 Rugby World Cup in France had a 19 percent viewership growth from the 2019 edition, becoming the most-viewed rugby event of all time.

The event clocked 1.33 billion viewing hours across linear and non-linear broadcast, a 30 percent growth from the last World Cup held in Europe in 2015 in England.

Of the total viewership, 85 percent came from free-to-air TV broadcasters, while streaming platforms accounted for five percent of the total viewership.

"World Rugby teamed up with free-to-air broadcast partners in most markets to showcase the best of rugby to as many fans as possible," World Rugby said. "Eight of the 11 markets surveyed saw strong viewership growth since 2015, despite a general decline in linear TV globally."

Italy had a 70 percent growth in viewership compared to the 2015 edition, while the viewership in the US more than doubled.

Japan was the country with the third-highest viewership, despite many matches kicking off late, although the numbers marked a decrease from the 2019 edition that it hosted.

Japan's groupstage matches against Argentina and Samoa, which kicked off at 7:45 pm in the country, clocked 33 million viewing hours each, the highest for a domestic broadcast.

"We will continue to work with our broadcast partners to enhance the viewing experience, especially for new audiences," said World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin.