With so much to talk about on the pitch it is little wonder that this week’s RWC Insider is packed full of ‘off the pitch’ stats and insight. This week RWC Insider also assess the impact of the Irish soccer team’s historic win over Germany.
The RWC Insider is brought to you through a collaborative effort from Livewire, Radical and Ignite Research – all members of Core Media Group. For earlier insights on the Rugby World Cup check out Week 1, Week 2 or Week 3 of the RWC Insider and make sure to follow @LivewireIRL for daily updates for the remainder of the tournament.
Bang for your buck
On average 36% more individuals watched the Irish rugby team beat France 24 – 9 at the Millennium stadium than watched the Irish football team’s defeat in Warsaw. TV3’s coverage averaged 1.15m viewers for the duration of the crucial rugby match, peaking at 1.43m viewers. To put that into advertising context; halftime and solus ads for the Ireland vs France game generated an estimated €602k in revenue for TV3 alone – the most of any match so far in the tournament. In comparison, 845k viewers on average tuned into RTE’s coverage of the Euro 2016 qualifier with Poland, reaching a peak of 1.18m viewers at the end of the game.
Although it was truly a ‘Super Sunday’ for Irish sport, the excitement started well in advance of the soccer team’s historic win over Germany last Thursday. #COYBIG was used 33k times by football fans in the past week. The hashtag, much more regularly associated with soccer, was also used 29k times in relation to rugby for the same time period. In fact, on ‘Super Sunday’ #COYBIG was used more for the rugby match than the soccer. Indeed, Irish rugby fans also borrowed Ole Ole Ole during the match; the famous chant could be heard reverberating around the Millennium Stadium.
Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) was one of the biggest global rugby influencers last weekend. He had the most combined tweets & retweets of any handle, creating a staggering 128m impressions. These sort engagement results aren’t unusual for Niall but his love of rugby – he has been regularly tweeting matches during the RWC – must be widening the appeal of the competition to non traditional fans.
What a performance by the Irish…especially having lost the boys to injury.Great character . Right Argentina , you’re next !
— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) October 11, 2015
Growth in a Female Audience
While the number of unique Twitter authors tweeting about the Rugby World Cup has only increased by 5% this weekend, women have been much more involved in the Twitter conversation as the tournament has progressed towards the knock-out rounds. Last weekend 34% of English speaking tweeters were women, with that number increasing to 48% this weekend.
The growth in vocal female support of rugby to almost half of all authors, is yet another sign of the widening appeal of rugby – something more sponsors should recognise when strategically planning activations. Irish women were much more positive regarding the Ireland vs France match at the weekend.
Female Twitter authors were used the topics “atmosphere in Cardiff”, “heroic performance” and “bring on Argentina” more prominently when talking about the match. In contrast, Irish men were more pragmatic (or pessimistic?) about the quarter final with Argentina, tweeting prevalently on the topics “injury problems”, “Paul O’Connell” and “ruled out of RWC2015.”
Brand Activation Hashtags
Aer Lingus’ #GreenSpirit was by far the most mentioned hashtag by Irish tweeters on Sunday (geo-tagged to Ireland). Add to this the success of the brand’s Ireland’s Call video (1.4m views so far), and it is clear that its online activation strategy is resonating with fans.
Heineken’s #ITSYOURCALL was the strongest performing of all RWC World Wide Partner hashtags in Ireland on Sunday. Stephen Ferris, the ex-Ireland and Ulster flanker, posed for photos with fans and shared content across Twitter from a recent Heineken event in Belfast. With 89.2k followers, Ferris is a major influencer on Twitter and has proved an effective way for the brand to generate reach for its sponsorship.
— Stephen Ferris (@StephenFerris6) October 11, 2015
There was a higher volume of search for Ireland v Poland than Ireland v France at the weekend, despite more Twitter conversation taking place for the rugby. This is likely to be partially a result of the permutations that could have led to the Republic of Ireland’s direct qualification of Euro 2016. Whereas the winner between Ireland and France was guaranteed a quarter final against Argentina.
Out of three players who came off with serious injuries during the Ireland vs France game, Sexton was by far the most searched on Google – 10 times more than O’Connell and 100 times more than O’Mahony. This may be due to the nature of his injury, which was ambiguous in its severity. In contrast, O’Connell and O’Mahony’s injuries were both visibly serious, with the pair requiring stretchers to leave the pitch.
Sony is the Official Technology Partner of the IRFU, yet only 7% of Irish consumers knew that the brand was affiliated to the Irish team at the outset of the tournament – the lowest awareness of all of the IRFU’s major partners. During the RBS 6 Nations Championship Sony activated its sponsorship with on-site booths at Aviva stadium, but until this weekend the brand had produced very little content.
On Friday afternoon Sony published a video of the Irish rugby team testing a range of its latest devices in a swimming pool. The brand used paid Facebook advertising to extend the reach of the video across Ireland, which has currently been viewed 253k times.
The objective of the video is most likely mass awareness for the water resistant products. Despite reaching a significant number of viewers, the 15 second ad has a 0.35% engagement rate (likes, shares or comments). In comparison, Three’s two #AllItTakes videos with Paul O’Connell, Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw reached a combined 183k viewers on Facebook and achieved an engagement rate of 1.82%.
It is surprising that few sponsors or non affiliated brands took advantage of the mass excitement after the final whistle of the Ireland v France game. The match has been scheduled for years and Ireland were long fancied to get a result. It seems an opportunity was missed.
Hungry for More?
The RWC Insider is brought to you through a collaborative effort from Livewire, Radical and Ignite Research – all members of Core Media Group. For more insights on the Rugby World Cup so far check out Week 1, Week 2 or Week 3 of the RWC Insider, or follow us on @LivewireIRL for daily updates for the remainder of the tournament.