A Staggering Number Of Irish Viewers Watched England's World Cup Exit

A Staggering Number Of Irish Viewers Watched England's World Cup Exit

A few months ago, the country tore itself apart over the issue of whether rugby is, in fact, the people's game.

As warring tribes radicalised, this writer went to work: meeting men in trench coats in underground carparks, chewing the top of pencils during all-night sessions of furiously scribbling on foolscap sheets of paper, shouting irrationally but passionately at colleagues, and rolling up white shirtsleeves while generally scurrying about looking stern.

At the end of it all, we broke the story: the people's game is Watching England Lose. 

Rugby's Six Nations offers this chance every year, and it is from this much of its popularity springs.

The latest example of our Watching England Lose obsession came at the World Cup this week. RTE have confirmed that 924,300 Irish viewers turned in to England's World Cup semi-final defeat to Croatia. There were another 200,000 people who watched the game buffer endlessly on RTE Player.


To give this some context: only three broadcasts in 2017 garnered more viewers on RTE's traditional TV. Those were the second leg of the World Cup playoff with Denmark; the All-Ireland football final between Dublin and Mayo; and the Late Late Toy Show.

And consider this, too: of the three broadcasts above, none of those were available on another channel free to air, as was the case with ITV's coverage of the England game. Given that Roy Keane was on the ITV panel, it's a safe bet that RTE's figure doesn't fully reflect the number of people tuning into the game from Ireland.

That means, incredibly, that more tuned in to watch England lose than watched last year's All-Ireland hurling final or Ireland's dramatic World Cup qualifying victory against Wales in Cardiff.

It is only a thousand short of RTE's figure for the Euro 2016 game against Belgium, and the only Six Nations game in recent years that exceeds it was this year's Grand Slam-winning game....against England.

See Also: Gary Neville Is 'Not Having' Luka Modric's Attack On The English Media


Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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