Munster were the most watched team during last season’s United Rugby Championship (URC), it was announced by the tournament organisers on Monday.
The URC revealed the TV audience numbers from 2022/23 and it was the champions who came out on top as a list of the top five teams was confirmed.
Munster finished at the top of the pile ahead of South African trio the Sharks (second), Bulls (third) and Stormers (fourth), with Connacht in fifth place.
Record-breaking campaign for numbers
There was also confirmation of the top 10 most watched games of the regular season in terms of audience and the Stormers v Munster came out on top.
In second place was Connacht v Sharks and third spot was Ulster v Stormers, with nine out of the top 10 games featuring at least one South African side.
Most watched games in regular season
Stormers v Munster – 688,903
Connacht v Sharks – 584,765
Ulster v Stormers – 543,964
Lions v Leinster – 503,228
Sharks v Stormers – 501,618
Ulster v Bulls – 495,527
Sharks v Ospreys – 493,776
Stormers v Bulls – 490,829
Leinster v Munster – 456,559
Bulls v Cardiff – 448,654
The URC also confirmed that a viewership of over 37 million watched during the 2022/23 season, breaking another broadcast record thanks to an 8% rise in audience figures.
12 months on from announcing a previous record of over 34.6 million, the URC reported that a cumulative total of 37.4 million tuned in to watch the drama unfold from across Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.
The figure also includes five rounds where the audience was over 2 million and 12 rounds were the audience climbed beyond 1.5 million. In addition, five of the top 10 most-viewed games of the regular season saw audiences rise above half a million with Stormers v Munster from Round 17 closing in on almost 700,000 viewers.
The URC play-offs had over 4 million viewers with Leinster and Munster’s meeting in the semi-finals drawing 856,599 viewers to set the highest average audience of the entire season. The Grand Final itself between Stormers and Munster also recorded a higher peak audience with over 1 million watching.
Rising force in the rugby industry
Martin Anayi, United Rugby Championship CEO, said: “It has been a record-setting year for the BKT URC in terms of attendances and now to set a new bar for TV audiences is a testament to new levels of interest that surround our league.
“We’ve worked hard to establish the BKT URC as the rising force in the rugby industry. Having recently broken beyond 1 million social media followers we can see that fans are responding to what we have created by going to stadiums, watching at home and engaging through their favourite digital media platforms.
“On the pitch we have seen the new format deliver more jeopardy and surprise results. The mix of playing styles and cultures within the league is providing an appeal that is very unique in rugby. This type of growth in audiences and attendances do not happen without our broadcast partners and teams playing their part and they all deserve great credit for this achievement.”