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England's World Cup final loss the most-watched UK TV moment this year

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

England’s loss to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final was the most-watched TV moment of the year in the United Kingdom, with a peak audience of 12.8million.

Figures released by broadcaster ITV also reveal Saturday’s match from Yokohama, which kicked off at 9am GMT, commanded a 79 per cent share of the viewing audience at that peak.

It was the biggest audience for a rugby match since the 2007 World Cup final between the same two sides and the most-watched sports programme, on any channel, since the 2018 football World Cup.

The average audience throughout the match, which England lost 32-12, was 8.9million, representing a 67 per cent audience share.

Japan’s journey to the Rugby World Cup 2019 quarter-finals also captured the imagination of a nation with the match against South Africa smashing all previous rugby television audience records and set another live audience record for sport in Japan this year.

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Japan’s sensational victory over Scotland, which secured the Brave Blossoms’ first-ever quarter-final, attracted an enormous 53.7 per cent peak audience share on NTV, representing a 54.8 million audience. This is a record for any rugby match and also greater than the audience achieved for the FIFA World Cup final in Japan on NHK in 2002.

Japan’s opening match against Russia attracted a peak audience of 26 million, Japan’s ‘Sensation in Shizuoka’ delivered a 29.5 million audience, while a dramatic end to the match against Samoa attracted a peak of 47 million.

With records tumbling at a remarkable Rugby World Cup, Japan’s matches now occupy the top four biggest domestic audiences ever achieved for a rugby match, demonstrating the huge potential and appetite for rugby in Japan.

Japan 2019 also smashed records for fan engagement around the globe with an incredible 1.7 billion digital video views and an estimated worldwide broadcast audience of 400 million, including a domestic all-time record television audience of 54.8 million for the unforgettable Japan v Scotland pool phase match.

– PA/World Rugby

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England's World Cup final loss the most-watched UK TV moment this year