It was confirmed on Wednesday that the Stormers will play a number of home games in Stellenbosch and Gkebergh during their defense of their Rugby United Championship title this season.

Due to clashes with some pre-booked stadium events, the Stormers will play three home games at the Danny Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch and one at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gkebergh.

Despite every effort being made to avoid these clashes, events at the DHL Stadium were booked a year in advance, while the United Rugby Championship matches could only be confirmed recently.

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The first two home games of the new season, against Connacht and Edinburgh on September 24 and October 1, will be played in Stellenbosch due to a Justin Bieber concert at the stadium on September 28, which will require significant construction at the stadium. .

Round nine clash with Dragons RFC on 3rd December will be held at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in preparation for the Cape Town Sevens at the Stormers’ home ground next weekend.

The Stormers will also close the regular season against Benetton at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on April 21, 2023. The Monster Jam Monster Truck show will take place in Cape Town.

DHL Stadium is sure to host at least two Heineken Champions Cup matches, with London Irish in December and Clermont-Auvergne in January.

All 2023 Western Province Carling Currie Cup home matches will be played at Sea Point Stadium.

The Stormers were one of the most popular teams last season

More than 34 million fans tuned in to the inaugural season of the United Rugby Championship (URC), as the league set a number of major broadcast records in its first campaign, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

With records set for season-long audiences, play-off viewing and the URC Grand Final itself, it’s clear that the new 16-team league has captured the imagination of rugby fans across the northern and southern hemispheres.

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Despite the reduction of the regular season to 18 rounds, the high attendances in Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa prove that less is more. In further growth, Italy reported its biggest audience ever, while international rights coverage and the launch of streaming service URC.tv boosted global totals.

In its first season, the United Rugby Championship was supported by Free-to-Air (FTA) companies in the UK, Ireland and Italy – BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland, Mediaset, RTÉ, S4C and TG4, as well as leading pay-TV companies SuperSport ( South Africa) and Premier Sports (UK and Ireland).

This combination of broadcast platforms allowed fans to enjoy increased production standards, while cross-over and cross-territory collaborations gave the league a truly global feel.

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Martin Anayi, CEO of the United Rugby Championship, said: “We are delighted with the broadcast audience for the first season of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship. It is a huge credit to the standard of rugby displayed by our teams and players, and to the wonderful work done by our broadcasters to showcase this talent.

“URC offers a diversity of playing styles and cultures across two hemispheres, which is unique in club rugby, and we can see fans in the north and south being drawn to it. With the combination of free-to-air and pay TV, combined with our increased presence in South Africa and record numbers in Italy, we have found a very effective formula for growing interest in our league and the sport of rugby.”

The numbers behind the headlines are truly stellar and set a high benchmark for the URC, its teams, players, broadcasters and partners to aim for ahead of the new 2022/23 season.

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NUMBERS BEHIND URC’S AUDIENCE RECORDS

Regular season

The United Rugby Championship can confirm that audiences for the entire 2021/22 season have reached a record high, according to aggregate reports from Nielsen Sports, one of the world’s leading reporting agencies. 34.6 million after 7,000 plus hours of exposure.

This number 34.6 m there was growth 169% compared to the 2020/21 PRO14 and Rainbow Cup campaigns combined.

  • The cumulative average audience per game for the season was 230 thousand who represented a 109% an increase of 20/21.
  • The combined audience is almost 3 million people are tuned in for the 3rd round with the figure 2,892,000 setting a new single-round attendance record in league history.
  • A total of four rounds overshadowed the audience 2 millionseven rounds were drawn more than 1.5 million and 6 of the remaining 7 rounds drew minimum attendance 1 million.
  • The average audience per tour in the regular season was 1.7 million.
  • The total audience from Italy was 1.6 million.

URC Grand Final and Playoffs

The first-ever Rugby Union Championship Grand Final took place in Cape Town, South Africa between the Stormers and the Bulls, setting a new televised milestone for the league.

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In total 1.25 million watched the DStormers win their first URC title and set a new record for the decisive championship. Although the Grand Final was an all-South African affair 41% audiences came from outside the territory with RTÉ’s live coverage in the Republic of Ireland 15%.

This trend of interest was a hallmark of the entire URC Play-Off, which also set a record for the most views from 3.8 million through seven games. The largest audience of the play-offs came to st Stormers v Ulster “Final Four” match, in which the public got into 754 thousand while the other semi-final meeting between Leinster and Bykov drew 472 thousand.

Including the URC Grand Final, the average audience per playoff game was 537 thousand

Top 10 games of the 2021/22 regular season

In the top 10 most popular games of the regular season, Munster featured five times, the Sharks featured in three with the Ospreys, Ulster and Stormers appearing twice.

It was the most watched game in the regular season Ospreys Game 3 of round p Sharks which was viewed by a general audience 581 thousand on BBC Wales, SuperSport and Premier Sports.

  1. R3 Ospreys v Cell C Sharks 580,026
  2. R3 Cardiff v Vodacom Bulls 560,886
  3. R2 Munster v DHL Stormers 538,909
  4. R6 Cell C Sharks v Scarlets 531,421
  5. R10 Munster v Ulster 523,707
  6. R4 Munster v Connacht 521,110
  7. R1 Munster v Cell C Sharks 484,267
  8. R5 Ospreys v Munster 480,652
  9. R4 Ulster v Emirates Lions 468,993
  10. R4 Dragons v DHL Stormers 445,471

The most popular clubs

Helped by their appearance in the VURC Grand Final, the Thunderstorms were the most watched team in the league with a total audience of over 7.2 million. The URC champions are followed by Bulls, Munster, Sharks and Leinster for spectators throughout the season.

The Thunderstorms and Munster were the most popular teams in South Africa and Ireland, respectively Ospreys leading interest in Wales, Benetton were No. 1 in Italy and Edinburgh led the pack in Scotland.

The derbies at the heart of the VURC’s tribal struggles have also fared well, with only one South African fixture interrupting the dominance of the All-Ireland clashes.

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Top 5 Derby Spectators

The most popular derby games of the season took place in Ireland, with Munster’s R10 clash with Ulster attracting 523,000 viewers for a game that was also No.5 in the top 10 regular season. Munster also feature in four of the top 5 derby viewing figures.

  • R10 Munster v Ulster 523,707
  • R4 Munster v Connacht 521,110
  • R16 Ulster v Munster 428,709
  • R15 Munster v Leinster 402,534
  • R6 Leinster v Ulster 401,603

Top 5 games from South Africa

  • R6 Cell C Sharks v Scarlets 531,421
  • R17 DHL Stormers v Leinster 417,323
  • R7 Emirates Lions v Munster 394,416
  • R16 Cell C Sharks v Lenster 361,290
  • R17 Vodacom Bulls v Glasgow Warriors 323,386

Top 5 games from Ireland

  • R2 Munster v DHL Stormers 538,909
  • R10 Munster v Ulster 523,707
  • R4 Munster v Connacht 521,110
  • R1 Munster v Cell C Sharks 484,267
  • R4 Ulster v Emirates Lions 468,993

5 best games from Italy

  • R11 Zebre v Munster 439,701
  • R1 Zebre vs Emirates Lions 295,647
  • R1 Benetton v DHL Stormers 213,754
  • R10 Benetton v Cell C Sharks 202,283
  • R4 Benetton v Ospreys 196,817

Top 5 games from Scotland

  • R3 Edinburgh v DHL Stormers 382,185
  • R3 Glasgow Warriors v Emirates Lions 363,674
  • R4 Edinburgh v Vodacom Bulls 260,448
  • R5 Glasgow Warriors v Leinster 224,494
  • R2 Glasgow Warriors v Cell C Sharks 209,027

Top 5 games from Wales

  • R3 Ospreys v Cell C Sharks 580,026
  • R3 Cardiff v Vodacom Bulls 560,886
  • R5 Ospreys v Munster 480,652
  • R4 Dragons v DHL Stormers 445,471
  • R3 Scarlets v Munster 330,313

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