A study by GlobalWebIndex, a supplier of audience insights to the global marketing industry, has found that 30 per cent of fans already anticipate they will use ITV Hub to catch-up on the games.
Conducted among 1,967 UK consumers, the survey shows 44 per cent of UK consumers will be watching Rugby World Cup with half of this audience stating they will be watching ‘most’, if not all matches. In fact, 14 per cent of Rugby World Cup fans – who will watch most of the games – state they will be travelling to Japan to see the games in person.
According to Chris Beer, senior trends analyst at GlobalWebIndex, it is “highly likely” that many fans are currently unaware of the time displacement that will impact their experience of this year’s Rugby World Cup. “With many consumers catching up on the tournament through a variety of channels, the opportunity for advertisers will be plentiful, but balancing the number of opportunities with the experience audiences have will be important to bear in mind and learnings noted ahead of the Summer Olympics next year,” he added.
A separate study in Q2 2019 of 30,864 Internet users in 13 countries identifies Europe as home of the majority of Rugby World Cup engagers with 38 per cent following the tournament, followed by Africa (26 per cent).
As for team affiliation, six in every ten Rugby World Cup fans in the UK will indeed be supporting the England team and many anticipate a strong finish. 35 per cent expect England will reach the semi-final and 37 per cent can see the team making it to the final.
However, they see close competition for the title. A third (34 per cent) of fans believe England will win, but 30 per cent foresee the defending champions, New Zealand, repeating their 2015 victory. 9 per cent of UK fans also see Wales and South Africa as potential dark horses of the tournament.
With a significant proportion of fans set to catch up on ITV Hub, its notable that Rugby World Cup fans are very tolerant of ads on TV streaming services – 87 per cent of fans express they don’t mind these ads – so long as they can see the content whenever they want (27 per cent), the video plays in good quality (27 per cent) or the service is free (45 per cent).
Heineken and Mastercard, who are lead sponsors, come first and third respectively, as the brands most associated with the Rugby World Cup sponsorship with just 43 per cent and 36 per cent awareness respectively.
Despite not being an official sponsor of the tournament, Guinness claims second place as the brand most people think of as official partners of the Rugby World Cup with 41 per cent of votes from UK consumers. This comes following the brand taking on title sponsorship for the first time for the 6 Nations tournament that took place earlier this year.
“When we looked at sponsorship awareness at the beginning of 2019 ahead of the 6 Nations, it was clear Guinness had some work to do, in order to build awareness amongst fans, as they had taken the title sponsor role,” advised Beer. “The awareness they now enjoy is testament to the power of broadcast advertising, it’s also a very positive sign of the rewards brands including Heineken and Mastercard will reap when the games kick-off.”