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Six Nations marketing: Brands must tackle tech to convert rugby fans

With the Six Nations tournament well underway and the World Cup coming later this year, new research reveals that over half of rugby fans (52%) multi-task on their smartphones when they watch rugby at home on the TV and this ‘second-screening’ is not just a sofa habit, with 44% of fans also multi-tasking at the stadium.

With 2015 being the biggest year in England Rugby history the research highlights just how important it will be for brands to fully understand rugby fans’ technology behaviours if they are to engage them effectively as customers.

The Rugby Fans & Technology Survey, from RadiumOne and conducted through research specialist TPoll, revealed that a fifth of fans chat with friends on instant messenger (21%) about the game while watching rugby on TV, and 19% like to post comments about it on social media.

Fans also admit that the 2015 Rugby World Cup will have a large impact on them with 27% increasing their online sharing activity and 34% saying their rugby content consumption will increase markedly.

The research found fans watching at the stadium are more likely to be interacting with rugby content before the game, with 83% using their smartphone prior to kick-off, compared to 74% watching on TV. Fans’ smartphone usage at the stadium is actually higher than if they were at home, with fans attending the match using their device on average 7 times throughout the day, compared to 5 times for those watching on TV. Younger rugby fans aged 16-34 are more than twice as likely (48%) to use their phone during the game than 55+ year olds (22%).

Survey highlights include:

• UK Rugby fans have an average of 4.6 devices in their household

• Rugby is most often watched at home by fans (89%), in the pub (35%) and at a rugby club (19%)

• Younger rugby fans aged 16-34 are more than twice as likely (48%) to use their phone during the game than 55+ year olds (22%)

• Nearly half (48%) of rugby fans share rugby-related content online, and 60% consume it, rising to three quarters (78%) of 16-34 year old fans

• 47% of rugby fans share or consumer rugby-related content through social media whilst 34% of rugby fans share and consume rugby-related content using email

• 44% of rugby fans have purchased rugby tickets online and 24% have purchased through a mobile or tablet

• 22% of rugby fans who own a games console play rugby-related games on their smartphone

Rupert Staines, MD Europe at RadiumOne, commented, “Technology has fundamentally changed the way fans and brands engage with rugby. Marketers need to better understand the nuanced behaviours of today’s rugby fans so they can build a tailored conversation on the relevant device. RWC 2015 will be a veritable goldmine for those relevant brands who understand the technology routines and associated data of today’s connected rugby fan.”

The research was undertaken by specialist research agency, TPoll, in December 2014 and January 2015 surveying 1,282 UK rugby fans, aged 16 – 55+ through TPoll and Rugby World magazine.

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