Last weekend RTE televised the women’s rugby match against France. It was a Saturday night 8pm broadcast. Figures from RTE show that the game had an average of 159,700 viewers across the broadcast with a share of 10.76% of the available audience, it peaked at 173,300 viewers between 21.30 and 21.45. The overall reach (those who tuned in for at least a minute) was 558,200.
To give you some context France v Ireland earlier in the day had an average of 670,000, a 59% share, Wales v Scotland had an average of 344,000, a share of 28%, while Italy v England on Sunday had an average of 195,000, a 23% share.
It’s fair to say that RTÉ are happy with the figures, almost 160,000 viewers and a near 11% share in peak time on RTÉ2 on a Saturday night is a very good performance. Compare these figures to the final game last year against Scotland which had an average of 89,400 with a 13% share for a lunchtime kick-off.
These numbers are not only very important to the broadcaster for the advertising revenue but also to the brands that are associated through sponsorship with the match. Hence we have the title sponsorship of the mens’ RBS Six Nations paying to be associated with the match. AON the Women’s Irish Rugby Team Sponsors must be very pleased with their association after Saturday night’s figures. It was only disappointing that poor execution and unforced errors cost Ireland the match.
Women’s Rugby has a very bright future at the moment. Thanks to a competitive international team and the 2017 Women’s World Cup being hosted in Ireland the question is will the media coverage of the sport improve to stay abreast of the growing public interest in Women’s rugby in particular and in Women’s sport in general ?