Fandom for Super Rugby on the rise in 2024
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Ten rounds into the DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition, nearly 1.67 million New Zealanders have watched the competition on Sky Sport and free-to-air on Sky Open, a lift of 11% compared to 2023.

Jonny Errington, Sky’s Chief Content & Commercial Officer says it’s pleasing to see the surge in popularity of the competition.

“As teams enter the final month of the regular season, it’s great to see DHL Super Rugby Pacific is steadily growing its audience. It’s clear to see from the consistently high levels of viewership across the different teams that this overall growth is driven by the passionate local support teams command around Aotearoa.”

The double-digit growth in linear viewership has been driven both by Sky subscribers on Sky Sport and Sky Sport Now and also by free-to-air viewership on Sky Open, Jonny explains.

“The majority of linear viewers watched via Sky Sport – and we saw double digit percentage growth in viewership via this channel. 

“Alongside this, there was also significant growth in the free-to-air audience on Sky Open. This was the first year that we have provided a selection of matches live-to-delayed – and this new approach proved that there is significant interest in watching Super Rugby Saturday matches on Sky Open.”

On Sky’s digital platforms, DHL Super Rugby Pacific matches were streamed over 3.36 million times, thanks to over 186,000 unique viewers on Sky Sport Now and Sky Go.

Jonny explains that viewership is also increasing across digital platforms, with modest increases in digital viewership of the competition. 

“What has been notable is that the growth in digital viewership has started to increase in recent rounds – so we anticipate that we may see more fans deciding to enjoy matches via Sky Sport Now and Sky Go as we near the end of the regular season and approach the playoffs.”

NZ Rugby CEO, Mark Robinson said, “The 2024 DHL Super Rugby Pacific season has been action-packed, competitive, and unpredictable. It’s great to see the competition continue to build momentum year on year.

“In addition to the uplift in fans tuning in to Sky’s coverage, we’re also seeing big increases in fan engagement on our competition social channels. With over 65 million video views  to date, an incredible increase of 74 percent on the 2023 competition – and a sign that a younger group of fans are engaging with the competition.”

The Chiefs v Crusaders match on 29 March has proven the most popular match of the 2024 competition so far, with over 482,000 people tuning in throughout the match and over 59,400 people streaming on Sky Sport Now and Sky Go.  Chiefs v Hurricanes on 13 April was the second most popular, with nearly 470,100 people watching and over 54,100 people streaming, while Blues v Crusaders on 23 March came in third, with just over 445,000 people watching and over 52,800 people streaming.