RWC opening weekend sees 5% increase in fans looking for pubs

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Flirtatious fans: MatchPint expects home nations matches to attract a ‘broader rugby flirt audience’
Flirtatious fans: MatchPint expects home nations matches to attract a ‘broader rugby flirt audience’

Related tags: Sport, Rugby

Despite early UK kick-off times, the opening weekend of the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) yielded a 5% increase in rugby fans searching for pubs compared to the start of the 2015 tournament.

Rugby World Cup stats

Here are the need-to-know facts for pubs from MatchPint’s RWC Survey June 2019.

48 ​– the total number of games to be played at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, concluding with the final at the International Stadium Yokohama in Kanagawa on 2 November

64%​ – percentage of football fans who have said they will watch the Rugby World Cup

£16​ – more than one in three rugby fans would pay more than £16 to pre-book a table

82%​ – despite the early kick-offs, more than four out of five fans class the availability of alcohol during RWC matches as ‘extremely important’

144 pints​ – according to MatchPint, venues showing the Lions tests sold, on average, 144 more beers than those that didn’t

24%​ – almost a quarter of pubs expect this year’s Rugby World Cup to be ‘extremely popular’

Seven days​ – more than one in five pubgoing fans will book a table for the RWC a week in advance

75%​ – three quarters of Rugby World Cup fans would watch a big game involving their team at the pub

Six Nations​ – around 95% of fans who plan to watch the Rugby World Cup in a pub will return for the next instalment of the Six Nations, with more than half planning to watch Gallagher Premiership in the on-trade

Tea and coffee​ – almost one in five fans will opt for a coffee during the RWC, with just shy of one in 10 saying they will opt for tea.

71%​ – according to MatchPint, almost three quarters of fans class a full breakfast menu during RWC games at the pub as ‘extremely important’

More than 40%​ – nearly half of rugby fans won’t pre-book before watching a RWC game

Lager, ale and stout​ – are the three most popular drinks among rugby fans

Pub-finding app MatchPint recorded a total of 55,123 searches for pubs over the course of the 2019 tournament’s opening weekend compared to 52,236 in 2015.

The increase comes despite the early UK broadcast times of this year’s tournament versus the 2015 edition, which took place in England and benefited from pub-friendly afternoon and evening kick-offs.

Early risers on Saturday morning were treated to defending World Champions New Zealand’s 23-13 hard-fought victory over 2019 Rugby Championship winners South Africa, while Sunday morning saw Ireland sweep past Scotland in a one-sided 27-3 showing at 8.45am UK time, before England overcame Tonga at 11.15am by a score of 35-3.

The data from the 2019 tournament so far also compares well to the 2017 Lions Test Series against New Zealand – which saw games broadcast at similarly early times for UK audiences – with the opening weekend’s fixtures seeing 92% more searches on MatchPint that the first weekend of Lions action.

According to a poll by Greene King IPA​, more than one in five (22%) of Brits have said the ultimate place to watch rugby is at the pub with friends because they can soak up the atmosphere.

Best yet to come

MatchPint co-founder Dom Collingwood said: “While fan fervour isn't yet at 2015 levels (levels that dropped quickly after England’s humbling early exit), there is clearly a strong interest from fans in watching these early rugby matches at the pub.

“A little like pay per view boxing events – where fans have little guarantee their local will be showing the fight – fans are keen to ensure they find a pub that is definitely showing the game in the morning.

“While overall searches were up, England's game against Tonga only drew half the interest of England's opener against Fiji in 2015, suggesting the overall interest is there but England-fever is yet to catch on and bring in the broader rugby flirt audience to our pubs.

“Expect that to change over the coming weeks as games carry more weight while the pressure – and excitement – increases.”

Related topics: Sport

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to The Morning Advertiser

The definitive voice for the pub trade

Get the latest news, analysis and insights from the uk pub sector straight to your inbox!