Twelve months on from announcing a previous record of over 34.6million, the Vodacom URC can now report that a cumulative total of 37.4million 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 1.5million. In addition, five of the top 10 most-viewed games of the regular season saw audiences rise above half a million with DHL Stormers v Munster from Round 17 closing in on almost 700,000 viewers.

The Vodacom 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 DHL Stormers and Munster also recorded a higher peak audience with over 1 million watching.

Martin Anayi, United Rugby Championship CEO, said: “It has been a record-setting year for the Vodacom 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 Vodacom URC as the rising force in the rugby industry and 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.”

Breaking down the record-setting audiences in 2022/23
Total Season Audience: 37.4million (+8%)
Season Average: 247,682 per game
Regular season total: 33.3million (+8%)
Regular Season Average: 231,250 per game
Total Play-Off Audience: 4.02million (up on 3.8million +5%)
Play-Off Average: 575,000 per game

Most Watched Teams

  • Munster
  • Cell C Sharks
  • Vodacom Bulls
  • DHL Stormers
  • Connacht

Ten of the 16 Vodacom URC clubs have seen season-on-season growth in their audiences

Top 10 Most Watched Matches in Regular Season:
DHL Stormers v Munster - 688,903
Connacht v Cell C Sharks - 584,765
Ulster v DHL Stormers - 543,964
Emirates Lions v Leinster - 503,228
Cell C Sharks v DHL Stormers - 501,618
Ulster v Vodacom Bulls - 495,527
Cell C Sharks v Ospreys - 493,776
DHL Stormers v Vodacom Bulls - 490,829
Leinster v Munster - 456,559
Vodacom Bulls v Cardiff - 448,654