Top viewership for S15 semis
Cape Town - As the Super Rugby season builds towards a thrilling finale between the top two teams, broadcasting figures from the semi-finals show an immense increase in viewership at the business end of the competition.
With the matches being played in New Zealand and Australia, both local broadcasters experienced record 2014 results with SKY (345 000) and Fox Sports (246 000) posting their highest average audiences for the year. In addition, each of these games reached over half a million people.
Fox Sports' figures for the Waratahs' successful semi-final eclipsed any game played during the 2013 Super Rugby season and represented an astonishing 292 percent comparative uplift on last year's penultimate week.
Additionally, the Crusaders v Sharks game was the sixth-highest rating game overall in Australia this year and the highest-rating game played overseas.
The Waratahs v Brumbies clash meanwhile produced the highest audience for SKY for a match played out of New Zealand this season, while the Crusaders v Sharks semi-final attracted a record viewership of 345 000 - easily the broadcaster's best result for a Super Rugby match in 2014.
South African fans continued to watch and support the Sharks with SuperSport's average audience of 350 000 for the match being 15 percent higher than the corresponding New Zealand semi-final from 2013.
Furthermore, the combined live average of the two semi-finals as shown by SANZAR's three core broadcast partners attracted the highest average audience for matches played in New Zealand (822 000) and Australia (665 000) this season.
"Interest in the semi-finals was incredibly strong with our host broadcasters posting positive results compared to previous benchmarks, illustrating the immense interest among fans in our core territories," commented SANZAR CEO Greg Peters.
"Each match had an average audience of more than quarter of a million people and more Australians tuned in to watch the semi-finals than they did any match throughout all of last season.
"We are optimistic that Saturday's final between the Waratahs and Crusaders will produce similarly positive numbers and be a fitting showpiece to a memorable season, along with what may prove to be a record crowd for a Super Rugby match."