Japan’s RWC success draws record local TV audiences

A giant rugby ball balloon is afloat to promote the Rugby World Cup on September 3, 2019 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

Japan’s heroic win over Samoa on Saturday at the 2019 Rugby World Cup recorded the country’s biggest-ever single-market broadcast audience.

The game earned a local record peak TV audience of 46.1 per cent on NTV channel, according to World Rugby, believed to be the biggest of the year in Japan.

New records were also set for the numbers that turned up at the tournament fanzones, with 150,000 people showing for Saturday’s game, exceeding the 130,000 when Japan played Ireland.

So far more than 700,000 fans have visited Fanzones so far, which makes the 770,000 record set at the Rugby World Cup 2015 likely to be broken at this edition of the competition.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “This remarkable Rugby World Cup continues to gather momentum and its is exciting to see it is attracting new fans here in Japan, as reflected by the record free-to-air audience share for Japan against Samoa and the huge Fanzone attendances.”

Globally Japan’s performances have also recorded big numbers, with more than two million people tuning in on ITV in the UK to watch Japan play Samoa.