Priority Three Report: More players and more communities participating
The landscape around how our fans are engaging with rugby is constantly evolving and changing. We know that while TV still plays a huge role in rugby consumption, online platforms for highlights reels, interviews and behind the scenes access is constantly growing. Despite all of this, it is still a balancing act to fill our stadiums so our teams are playing in front of as many fans as possible and home crowd advantage is still alive and well.
Viewership for the All Blacks is still on the rise, with an average of 1.3m views across three domestic Test matches as the team prepared for Rugby World Cup 2019. With so many ways for our fans to engage with the team, we saw an even spread across sold out Test matches, high TV viewership and popular highlights packages.
On average, the three home Test matches achieved their budget, with the Auckland and Wellington Test matches proving most popular and performing well above budget with the team taking on two of the strongest Rugby World Cup contenders, Australia and South Africa.
Investec Super Rugby is experiencing a big shift in how fans are engaging with the competition. While we were disappointed to finish the year at an average of 89% of
our target for live attendance, TV and highlights package viewership, we have seen a promising ongoing growth in digital engagement.
Alongside this viewership, social media opens up another way for our fans to connect with our players and teams across all competitions and levels. We are pleased to report that we achieved our engagement targets in 2019 achieving 9.29% across our Teams in Black social accounts and 8.44% across our domestic / Investec Super Rugby social accounts. These are calculated by dividing total engagement across all channels by the total reach of those channels throughout the year (including in the offseason). Our social media engagement is measured through dividing the number of comments, likes, shares and video viewership by the total reach of our channels throughout the year. We believe this is the best way to make sure that our fans are connected to rugby getting full value from the content we produce.
Our content pillars that guide what we post include being inspirational, entertaining or informative, and this content is posted in a tone and style that encourages regular
conversation and contact with our fans. When and what we post is also guided by our teams’ calendars to make sure our audiences have the opportunity to connect and follow along with what their favourite teams are doing.
Our Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens teams have two of the most successful records in rugby and interest in the teams has been constantly rising over the last few years with high-profile Rugby World Cup victories. With Rugby World Cup 2021 on home soil along with the summer Olympics, it’s important to us that interest and engagement with the team continues to grow.
While it was our goal to see the interest in these teams be maintained in what was a big year for our men’s team with the Rugby World Cup 2019, it was great to see Black Ferns interest increase by 2% to 31% and Black Ferns Sevens interest increase by 1% to 22% across the year.