Six Nations: Tackling the Rugby Union fans

Ireland are the current Six Nations holders and England are the bookies favourite to win this year’s title. So what better time to compare the fans from both countries? According to our TGI consumer data, in the Republic of Ireland, 26% of adults (942,000 people) have an interest in rugby union and in Northern Ireland this rises slightly to 28% (413,000 people).

In England, however, rugby union doesn’t seem quite as popular, with only 18% of adults having an interest in the sport, although this nevertheless equates to a little over eight million people. We can use our TGI consumer data to explore these fans further and uncover the differences or similarities between them and what makes them appealing to marketers.

In the Republic of Ireland, rugby union fans tend towards the older generation, with 45% aged 55+. A similar story is seen in England where they are 41% more likely than the average adult to be aged 65+. However, In Northern Ireland, there is little differentiation by age amongst rugby fans.

Cars, finance and beverages are similar interests

Our TGI consumer data shows that rugby union fans in the Republic of Ireland are 40% more likely than the average adult to be very interested in car mechanics and 37% more likely to do small repairs on their cars. In England the figure is slightly higher, with this group 45% more likely than the average adult to be very interested in car mechanics.

Another close similarity between rugby fans in both markets is in finance. In the Republic of Ireland, rugby union fans are 39% more likely to read the financial pages of their newspaper, whilst fans in England are 53% more likely to do so. This could indicate the importance of financial stability amongst English rugby fans. Indeed, a sense of financial shrewdness more generally is a trait of English rugby fans, who are also 26% more likely than the average English adult to look for profitable ways to invest their money.

Strong affinity for sponsors Guinness

Six Nations’ new title sponsor Guinness will have reason to be happy with the strength of the synergy between the sport and their brand. In the Republic of Ireland, alcohol-drinking rugby union fans aged 18+ are 61% more likely than the average drinker to claim to drink Guinness ‘most often’ as their ale or stout tipple of choice. Similarly, in England, these fans are 50% more likely to drink Guinness ‘most often’.

Newspapers are a key way to engage these groups

When it comes to effective media channels to engage this audience, our TGI consumer data reveals that rugby union fans in the Republic of Ireland are 28% more likely to say they read newspapers most days and 47% more likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of newspaper readers. Fans in England are 27% more likely to enjoy reading newspapers every day, but they are also 46% more likely to be in the heaviest fifth of mobile internet users.

In terms of what these groups specifically engage with in these popular media channels, the newspaper-reading rugby fans in Republic of Ireland are over twice as likely as other heavy newspaper readers to be very interested in sketches and cartoon newspaper content and, to no surprise, 60% more likely to be very interested in sport topics.

In England, rugby fans who are particularly heavy consumers of mobile internet are 33% more likely than the average heavy mobile internet user to regularly use their mobile for scanning bar codes or QR codes.

Click here to find out more about our TGI consumer study.

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