The 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) has set a year-high domestic network viewership record for the second week in a row after the matchup between South Africa and England drew 7.2 million viewers in the UK.

The semi-final match, which saw South Africa run out late winners over England, was broadcast in the UK on commercial broadcaster ITV.

The match averaged 7.2 million viewers and peaked with 8.7 million tuning into the tense final 10 minutes of the encounter, in which South Africa came from behind to win.

This figure is without factoring in viewers from ITV’s ITVX streaming platform.

A reported 78,098 people attended the game at Paris’ Stade de France.

The overall broadcast, factoring drop-off before and after the fixture for punditry and analysis, still averaged 5.2 million, which would still make it ITV’s second-largest broadcast of 2023.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

The fixture drew similar numbers abroad, with French free-to-air broadcaster TF1 attracting a slightly higher average of 7.3 million, and a slightly higher peak of 8.8 million to the game.

It follows the October 15 quarter-final matchup between South Africa and host nation France, which was France's largest TV draw of the year.

The quarter-final, another tense affair involving late drama, drew a 16.5 million viewer average for TF1, peaking at 18.4 million, the largest audience of 2023 in France.

The game was a rematch of the 2019 RWC final, which South Africa also won, which governing body World Rugby announced was the most-watched final of all time with 857 million people watching worldwide.

The France vs South Africa match beat out another RWC fixture to become the country’s most-watched TV event of 2023.

The tournament’s opening fixture, in which France beat New Zealand, drew a 15.4 million viewer average, the highest of the year in France up to that point, with a peak of 17 million viewers.