World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont has described record USA broadcast audiences for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco as “a major endorsement of a sport that is rapidly converting new fans” in one of the world’s most competitive sports markets.
Host broadcaster NBC confirmed today that the three-day tournament was the most-watched live rugby cast in the USA on record. Coverage reached nine million viewers across five telecasts, with finals day coverage averaging 1.365 million viewers.
Underscoring its commitment to the sport in the USA, NBC presented more than 30 hours of live coverage on its TV channels, while streaming across NBC’s digital platforms delivered 1.7 million live minutes.
The strong audiences reflect a sport that continues to grow across the USA. More than 100,000 fans packed into AT&T Park to see the first rugby event in the iconic baseball stadium, playing numbers have topped one million, while a recent Nielsen Sports study confirmed that there are 11 million avid fans of rugby in the USA (33 million casual and avid fans).
Beaumont said: “These record viewing figures for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in the USA are a major endorsement of a sport that is rapidly converting new fans in one of the world’s most competitive sports markets.
“NBC’s commitment to the tournament and rugby through 30 hours of programming is providing an unprecedented nationwide platform for rugby in the USA at a time when the sport continues to experience strong participation growth.”