World Rugby delivers record-breaking digital-first content throughout #RWC2019

World Rugby delivers record-breaking digital-first content throughout #RWC2019

Our partners focused on light-hearted content which resonated across the globe.

The 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) was one of the most-watched events of the decade across TV, mobile and social platforms.

World Rugby, long-term partners of Grabyo and organizers of the RWC, invested heavily in creating digital-first content across its channels to capture viewers across each and every platform during the tournament.

The results went beyond expectations:

  • #RWC2019 video content achieved over 2.1 billion video views
  • #RWCDaily show viewed over 11 million times
  • 54% of all content accessed on World Rugby channels

So how did they do it?

World Rugby's multi-channel strategy was finely-tuned and highly targeted towards rugby and sports fans.

Content ranged from reaction GIFs referencing Star Wars and Jurassic Park, to 'best of' moments from historic matches. World Rugby made use of its vast archive, drew on emotions of previous games and tournaments, and tapped into the feeds of millions.

World Rugby also made the most of its exclusive access and rights to create a social-first video series that ran throughout the tournament. Hosted by South African journalist Elma Smit, each RWC Daily episode recapped the previous day's action, previewed upcoming matches and took viewers around the stadiums and local fan areas in Japan.

This type of supplementary content allowed the RWC to engage fans outside of match action and enrich the experience of following the World Cup. RWC Daily brought fans into the heart of the atmosphere in Japan, telling stories from a fan perspective around the event. The episodes are now available on-demand across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Best of the best

The 2019 RWC's most popular clip across its social channels was New Zealand's Haka before their opening game against South Africa. The clip achieved over 22 million views across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

One of the RWC's most talked-about pieces of content came from its partnership with Canon. Using the latest in camera and imaging technology, World Rugby was able to show tries and highlights from new and intimate angles. This brought a completely different perspective to the TV broadcast footage, showing fans what it would be like to see the action from a player's eye view on the pitch.

Sports fans are increasingly engaging with content that lies outside of the in-game action. New Zealand's Haka was viewed by more than any other clip across the RWC. Fans turn to social media platforms for more than just highlights; they want a rounded experience that brings stories, insight and behind the scenes and they expect these to be made available, on-demand on mobile devices.

Our takeaways

World Rugby achieved so much during this year's World Cup. With the addition of the RWC Daily show, World Rugby has established itself as a leader off the field, in providing a meaningful content offering across TV, digital and social channels.

It's rare to see a global sports federation take such a forward-looking, relevant and engaging approach to video at such a high profile event. We expect this success will drive many others to look at how they are delivering video across multiple channels and consider how they can emulate this success.