Although the Australian rugby team fought out a tough 39-21 victory over Fiji in its first game at the 2019 Rugby World Cup on Saturday, a study has found more than half the country is unaware the tournament is even on.
In preparation for the ninth Rugby World Cup, held this year in Japan, consumer insights platform for marketers Toluna conducted a survey of 4,400 consumers from Europe, Asia Pacific, South America and Africa about how fans plan to engage with the upcoming games.
The results showed that despite the Wallabies being two-time winners of the cup, there was a somewhat surprising disinterest in this year’s tournament from Australians.
When asked if they were aware the tournament was taking place, 52 per cent of Australians answered “no”.
Additionally, when it came to excitement about the tournament, only 13 per cent of Australians said they were “very excited” for the campaign, while 41 per cent listed “not at all”.
And while both Foxtel and Network Ten have invested in bringing the tournament to Australian screens, the research suggests the networks will struggle to attract viewers.
More than half (52 per cent) of Australians said they were not planning on watching any of the matches from Japan, while 34 per cent said they would only be tuning into the important matches.
A diehard 13 per cent of Australians said they planned on watching “all or most” of the games.
According to OzTAM’s metro numbers, 208,000 watched the tournament on Network 10 on Saturday.
Australia: Home of the ‘Sickie’ and Punting
Despite the resounding disinterest in the tournament, Australians were still the most likely of all nations to ‘chuck a sickie’ to watch the World Cup.
The research showed 20 per cent of Australians planned on calling in sick so they could watch the action.
This was well above the next highest-rating ‘sickie’ nation South Africa, where 16 per cent were pencilling a day off.
Although they are favourites to take out the tournament, New Zealanders are also clearly hard-workers.
Only eight per cent planned on calling in sick – the lowest of any nation.
Australia also ranked highly when it came to betting on the tournament.
Finishing only behind South Africa, 42 per cent of Australians said planned on placing a bet on Rugby World Cup matches.
Japanese fans were the least likely to gamble on the tournament, only 11 per cent of fans showing interest in betting.