Fans Online Gear Up for 2019…

Fans Online Gear Up for 2019 Rugby World Cup

With the 2019 Rugby World Cup just around the corner, what are rugby fans across the world searching for?

Rugby union fans across the globe are preparing for the sport’s biggest event, the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

On 20 September to 2 November, Japan will host 20 teams across 48 games in 12 stadiums, for each team’s shot at the illustrious William Webb Ellis Cup.

Defending champion, New Zealand, is coming in as the bookies’ favorite, but this year’s title won’t be an easy win.

Australia, South Africa, and England are vying for another title, and other top nations, like Wales, Scotland, and France, are also in contention. We can’t discount the USA too, where the sport is rapidly building. The country finished second in the World Seven Series and are looking to cause an upset.

This year also marks the first time the tournament is held in Asia, and fans aren’t missing out on the opportunity to support their teams. A reported 97% of tickets have already been sold, as Japan welcomes over 400,000 international visitors this month and next.

So, which country has the biggest die-hard fans? Who is searching for “body paint” and who is reminiscing on past wins? Hitwise takes a look in our latest multi-market wrap-up in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup.


NZ and Wales topped visit shares to the World Cup’s site.

Supporters across key nations are increasingly visiting the official Rugby World Cup’s site for the latest updates, schedules, and announcements. Three-time Cup winners, New Zealand, attracted the highest share of site visits, followed closely by Wales.

Momentum is building in other nations too. From mid-August to mid-September, the week before kick-off, visit share had risen over +70% for Scotland, England, Australia, and the USA. The only nation to see a dip compared to the previous month was France.

Maybe supporters only care about a win? Site visits in France peaked in the week ending 17 August, thanks to their landslide win against Scotland during the warm-up games.

Visits to
Visit Share by Nation

Visits to the World Cup's site have rise 70% in the past month.
Source: Hitwise, Multi-Market Weekly Data. Visits to, as a share of all online activity per market.


Scotland searched for body paint; Aussies opened old wounds reliving 2015’s loss. 

Aside from schedules and fixtures, each country has different interests around the World Cup.

New Zealanders were searching for how to watch the games, and even looking ahead to 2023. Ready for the party, the Welsh were looking for World Cup-themed-“bunting”, whereas “body paint” was trending for the Scottish.

English supporters were updating their “fantasy cup” players. Aussies were opening old wounds, searching for the “2015 Cup” where the team lost to the All Blacks.

Runners-up three times, France was also feeling nostalgic, looking at the “1995 South Africa” games. Americans were brushing up on the qualified teams and searching for “Rugby 7’s”, hoping to improve their near-miss win earlier in the year.

Searches around “Rugby World Cup”
Top Variations by Nation

New ZealandWalesScotlandEngland
1. Fixtures NZ”1. “Bunting”1. “Scotland squad”1. “England squad”
2. “How to watch”2. “Warm Up Games”2. “Body paint”2. “Tickets”
3. “Calendar download”3. “Japan packages”3. “Scotland kit”3. “Wall chart”
4. “Cup 2023”4. “Predictions”4. “Warm up games”4. “Fantasy cup”
5. “PS4”5. “Players to watch”5. “Best sweepstake ideas”5. “England shirt 2019”
1. “Tickets”1. “French players”1. “Teams 2019”
2. “Odds”2. “TV Channels”2. “TV coverage USA”
3. “2015 Cup”3. “1995 South Africa”3. “How to watch”
4. “Winners”4. “School projects”4. “Tickets”
5. “Predictor”5. “Jersey”5. “Rugby 7s”

Source: Hitwise, Search variations with “rugby world cup”. 8 weeks ending 14 September 2019.


Viewership expected to exceed 700 million worldwide.

The most recent Rugby World Cup broke previous records, with 120 million fans across the globe tuning in to watch the grand final in 2015. It was also heralded as the most digitally-engaged rugby event, garnering over 270 million video views on social media during the tournament.

Fast forward four years, the 2019 Rugby World Cup is expected to exceed these figures. While avid fans from England, Australia to the USA are searching for flight tickets, the majority of supporters will be watching, sharing, and tweeting in their home countries.

Experts are expecting the tightest and most fiercely contested World Cup to date. So, who will take home “Bill” come 2 November?

For more information on Hitwise multi-market data, contact us here. For our previous sporting coverage, check out our Women’s World Cup blog and US Superbowl Report.

Read more about how Hitwise can help you use search data to optimize your media strategies here

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