BLOG | by Natasha Glassford

Will time differences deter Rugby World Cup fans around the world?

The Rugby World Cup starts today. And while the large and lucrative American market enjoys a fair amount of clout when it comes to the scheduling of sports events taking place in other time zones, it’s slightly less mighty when it comes to rugby union.

The property lies 35th in our Current Customer rankings in the US and organisers in Japan, this cycle’s hosts, have aimed their scheduling to accommodate bigger markets in western Europe, as much as home and Australasian audiences.

So, given the time differences involved, we thought we would ask the public in Japan, France and the United States whether watching live appealed or whether it’s a case of getting some zeds and watching the highlights.

First of all, let’s look at how many people in each market will be watching.

As you can see, more than twice as many people in France and Japan plan to watch or follow the World Cup as they do in America (a reminder here that all three nations will have teams playing in the tournament).

But with games seven and 13 hours (or more) ahead for France and America respectively, how are fans planning to watch. Kick of times for Les Bleus pool games coincide roughly with breakfast in France but for Americans it’s a different proposition, with matches taking place in the dead of night for many fans.

But as you can see from our polling, the late/early starts won’t be putting off American rugby fans. Only slightly more of them will wait for the highlights as will be putting the coffee pot on and watching live – in fact, as a proportion, Japanese fans are around just as likely to sit the live version out.

Likewise in France, breakfast rugby is likely to get a decent audience, with roughly the same proportion of the public planning to watch live as waiting for the highlights.

Of course, people’s plans and their actions can differ greatly but in anticipation of an event that comes around only once every four years, there looks to be plenty of appetite for the World Cup, whatever the time difference.

BLOG | by Natasha Glassford

Senior Research Manager

Natasha is experienced in all aspects of the sports sponsorship research business having worked in the industry for over 6 years. She has successfully lead projects for high profile rights holders, brands and agencies, with clients including ATP World Tour, Cricket South Africa, European Professional Club Rugby, Sky, Formula E, Cake (Havas), Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.