URC ‘blown away’ as fans smash attendance records across the board

Jared Wright
united rugby championship urc attendance records fans

The United Rugby Championship (URC) smashed more attendance records this season, building on the success of the inaugural 2021/22 campaign.

Ahead of the final between the Stormers and Munster on Saturday, the URC has reported that this term will set a new record for season-long attendance. 

Record-breaking URC season

Over 1.6 million fans will have attended games by the time the final whistle is blown to crown the 2022/23 champions.

The tournament’s showpiece event is yet another sell-out, with 55,000 fans expected at DHL Stadium.

The URC add that average attendance in the competition has grown to just shy of 10,000 (9,893) per match for the regular season, which is the highest average the league has ever recorded.

All 16 teams have experienced an increase in average attendance compared to the 2021/22 season, with overall match attendance up 36 per cent.

Early success

“We are blown away by the attendance records set across the league this season,” CEO of the United Rugby Championship Martin Anayi said.

“Our teams put tremendous work into improving their match-day experiences for fans and promoting their games, and this should give everyone in rugby great encouragement for next season.

“We are early days still for the URC, but it is clear that fans are responding to the draw of the South African sides and the 18-round format, which has increased jeopardy and competition across the board.

“The sell-out crowd in Cape Town this weekend is a fantastic sign of interest in URC, however, we are just as pleased with setting a new record for regular season attendances, and there should be great pride across all 16 teams in that collective achievement.”

1,424,520 attended the regular season games from rounds 1 to 18, with 152,954 attending the quarter and semi-final matches.

The 55,000 tickets sold for the final pushes the play-off games over 200,000 and sets a new overall season record of 1,632,114.

The semi-final between Leinster and Munster set a new record for a play-off game in the UK and Ireland – that wasn’t a final – bringing in 26,795 supporters.

Meanwhile, the Stormers broke their own record of highest attendances for non-final games in the play-offs, with their crowds of 44,109 for their quarter-final against the Bulls and 47,261 coming through the gate for their semi-final victory over Connacht.

Figures for URC attendances in 2022/23

  • Total cumulative attendance for R1-18 was 1,424,520, the highest in the competition history (including previous iterations)
  • Average match attendance for R1-18 was 9,893 – the highest in competition history (including previous iterations)
  • Total cumulative attendance for the full season (excluding Grand Final) is 1,577,114 – the highest in competition history (including previous iterations)
  • Grand Final attendance of 55,000 will bring total attendance for the season to 1,632,114
  • Total cumulative attendance for play-offs so far (QF and SF) is 152,954 – the highest in competition history (including previous iterations) 
  • Average match attendance for play-offs so far (QF and SF) is 25,432 – the highest in competition history (including previous iterations) 
  • Leinster v Munster set a new record for highest attendance in the northern hemisphere for a non-play-off game at 26,795
  • Stormers set overall record for a non final play-off game with 47,261 attending their Semi-Final against Connacht
  • All 16 URC clubs have a higher average match attendance vs last season, with overall average match attendance increasing by 36%
  • 123,307 record attendance for a single round recorded in Round 11

READ MORE: Stormers v Munster: Five storylines to follow including heated exchanges in a fiery URC final