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Record-Breaking Season Highlights URC’s Growth

  • June 4, 2024
  • 2 min read
Record-Breaking Season Highlights URC’s Growth

The Vodacom United Rugby Championship (URC) is experiencing a surge in popularity, fueled by the addition of South African teams according to CEO Martin Anayi.

South Africa’s Impact

Anayi credits South Africa’s professional approach and established rugby culture for much of the URC’s success. This season has already seen record-breaking viewership, attendance, and social media engagement.

All Nations Represented in Playoffs

For the first time ever, all five participating nations (South Africa, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Italy) will be represented in the playoffs. This reinforces the league’s “pan-country” nature and competitiveness.

Broadcast and Audience Growth

Globally, broadcast viewership has increased by 49%, with a 24% rise in the UK and Ireland. Attendance has surged by 67% compared to the previous record. Social media engagement has also skyrocketed, placing the URC fourth on YouTube among rugby competitions.

South Africans Embrace URC

While South African fans haven’t yet fully embraced the Champions Cup (Europe’s elite competition), their enthusiasm for the URC is undeniable. This is likely due to the success of South African teams in the URC, particularly the Stormers’ championship win in the inaugural season.

Building Champions Cup Awareness

Anayi acknowledges the need to educate South African fans about the Champions Cup. The Sharks’ recent Challenge Cup victory and their upcoming Champions Cup appearance will hopefully raise awareness.

Overall, the Vodacom URC is experiencing a golden age, with South Africa playing a key role in its success.

Picture courtesy of SA Rugby

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