Touchdown! Uncovering the Fans of the Six Nations Championship

Written by
Sophia Stockner

Insights by
Ben Montagu-Scott

02 Feb, 2024

With the Six Nations Championship fast approaching and Netflix’s recent release of the series ‘Six Nations: Full Contact’, rugby is definitely having a moment. Using the Fifty platform, we set out to uncover the audiences watching the Six Nations, look at the impact of Netflix's new show, and gauge what fans are feeling as their home teams head into the games.

Core Rugby Fans vs. Six Nations Fans

We began by looking at the audiences of the Premiership and the RFU Championship – the Core Rugby Fans. Following this, we compared the Core Rugby Fans to the audiences of the Six Nations and found some clear differences.

Core Rugby Fans were composed primarily of the Rugby Union Fanatics tribe, which made up nearly a third of the total audience. The Six Nations, in contrast, had a much wider, diverse fanbase. The largest tribe, Mainstream Brits, are mostly interested in general pop culture and entertainment. It’s clear that while the Premiership and RFU Championship appeal mostly to hardcore and pre-existing Rugby fans, the Six Nations is a more mainstream event that attracts a broader audience.

Figure 1: Comparing Core Rugby Fans to Six Nations Fans

Who’s Watching the Six Nations?

We then took a deep-drive into the make-up of the Six Nations audience, discovering 5 key tribes:

  • Mainstream Brits

  • Avid Sports Fans

  • Rugby Union Fanatics

  • Welsh Rugby Devotees

  • Informed Senior Professionals

The tribes demonstrate the diversity of the Six Nations fanbase, audiences such as Mainstream Brits and Informed Senior Professionals enjoy non-sports related interests like entertainment and business, while Avid Sports Fans are interested in more sports than just rugby alone. Welsh Rugby Devotees encompassed close to 12% of the Six Nations’ audience but only 5% of Core Rugby Fans, indicating the wider regional reach of the Six Nations’. Together, these findings show that audiences of the Six Nations are diverse in their interests, sporting passions, and geographies.

Figure 2: Audience composition of the 2024 Six Nations Championships

The Netflix Effect

Netflix’s recent release of the series ‘Six Nations: Full Contact’ has been successful in garnering new and younger audiences. Unsurprisingly the largest tribe we found was Rugby Union Fanatics, but the series saw a significant amount of Avid Sports Fans, showing its appeal among a wider sports audience. Additionally, the series made up the largest share of the youthful tribe Gen Z: Uni Students, who over-indexed by a whopping +57.5%! So fair to say, so far, so good.

Figure 3: Tribes tuning into ‘Six Nations: Full Contact’

Fan Sentiment Ahead of the Games

On top of uncovering the audiences of the Six Nations Championship, we also used our technological capabilities to look at how these fans are feeling as their home teams head to the games. To do this, we compared fans of the teams to explore their sentiments, thoughts and feelings. From these, France was found to have the most positive view of their team with 5x the amount of positive sentiment compared to negative. In contrast, Wales’ fans were seen to have the lowest amount of positive sentiment with a third of their mentions being negative. This is most probably a reflection of the many difficulties Wales has faced this year with its finances, players, recent under-performance and other off-field issues.

Figure 4: Sentiment comparison of the Six Nations Championship teams

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