It all started with a statement of Daire O’Brien that said ‘Rugby is arguably the people’s game”. In the same statement he admitted that in attendance figures, at least, rugby is overcome by other sports but it’s at the same time true the Irish rugby team receives a lot of attention from the people of Ireland.
What’s the truth, is rugby union really the sport of this nation?
According to the statistical data, rugby league is quite low in the list, beaten by many other sports. The total number of registered rugby players, including social rugby and tag is an estimated 194 387. That might look like a good figure, however, when you compare it with other sports, it barely reaches the mark.
In the most recent report, rugby did not even reach the top 15 of the most-enjoyed sports in Ireland. In another, older report, rugby managed to get a 12 place but still beaten by sports such as dance, yoga or tennis.
In terms of attendance, a study from 2015 showed that Rugby World Cup is on the fourth position on most-attended sports in Ireland. In a decline starting with 2013, the rugby scores were significantly lower compared with Gaelic football, soccer or hurling which speaks quite clearly about the position rugby occupies in the hearts of Irish people when it comes to going to the stadium to watch a match.
It’s also true that Ireland did not play many home games, however, the figures are low enough to make it clear that rugby is still far from being the people’s game as Daire stated.
Judging by the TV audience data transmitted by the major media companies in Ireland, it is once again revealed that the Irish would rather watch an international soccer match rather than the Six Nations Tournament or a match of the Rugby World Cup. Even though 2015 has taken over in the preferences of Irish viewers, the general interest towards football, which is also being aired more often, is greater.
Social Media Data
When it comes to social media analytics regarding what is the most often mentioned sport in the Facebook posts, tweets or Instagram posts of Irish people, rugby occupies the first place. A thing that is a bit uncommon and inconsistent with all the previous data collected. It actually has a big advantage with 1.51 million followers and the next sport is not even close, down at 714 500 followers. So, what causes this huge difference between Social Media and all the other channels?
Judging by the data and nothing else, one might conclude that saying rugby is the people’s game is a false statement since it has become quite obvious that there are other sports that overcome it in terms of attendance and participation. On the other hand, the Irish Rugby team are extremely popular on social media and the Six Nations tournament is always a much-expected event.
Could it be because of the punters that compare betting odds and use the Six Nations tournament as the base for their bets? One thing is certain, though, whenever the Irish rugby team beats England, rugby truly becomes the people’s game.
[imagesource:flickr] While most of the world (or really, the British Media and royal fa...
[imagesource:flickr] One of the most idealised cities in the world is being overrun by ...
[imagesource:Facebook/Wernich Botha] Klerksdorp must be the angry armpit of South Afric...
[imagesource:unsplash] It's good to know that despite the shenanigans you got up to thi...
[imagesource:screenshot/youtube] Beyond the Light Barrier is a strange tale about the c...