The BKT United Rugby Championship will set a new record for season-long attendance with over 1.6 million fans attending games by the time the final whistle is blown at this weekend’s final.
A sold-out crowd of 55,000 will watch the defending champions, the DHL Stormers, take on Munster this Saturday in Cape Town where a new record attendance for the BKT URC final will be set.
With fans responding to the appeal of the BKT URC, average attendances have grown to just shy of 10,000 (9,893) per match for the regular season, which is the highest average the league has ever recorded.
All 16 teams in the United Rugby Championship experienced an increase in average attendance from the 2021/22 season with overall match attendance up 36%.
A total of 1,424,520 attended the regular season games in rounds 1 to 18, with a further 152,954 coming to the six quarter-final and semi-final matches.
The 55,000 tickets sold for the final this weekend will see that figure for the play-off games top over 200,000 and set a new overall season record of 1,632,114.
Additionally, Leinster’s semi-final against Munster set a record attendance (26,795) for a play-off game in the UK and Ireland that was not a final.
The DHL Stormers also continued to break their own records that held the title of overall highest attendances for non-final games in the play-offs with their crowds of 44,109 for their quarter-final win over the Vodacom Bulls and 47,261 coming through the gate for their semi-final victory over Connacht.
This also comes off a season where the league recorded its highest ever attendance figure for a single round when 123,307 fans turned out across all eight games in round 11.
Martin Anayi, CEO of the United Rugby Championship, said: “We are blown away by the attendance records set across the league this season.
“Our teams put tremendous work into improving their match-day experiences for fans and promoting their games and this should give everyone in rugby great encouragement for next season.
“We are early days still for the URC but it is clear that fans are responding to the draw of the South African sides and the 18-round format which has increased jeopardy and competition across the board.
“The sell-out crowd in Cape Town this weekend is a fantastic sign of interest in the URC, however, we are just as pleased with setting a new record for regular season attendances and there should be great pride across all 16 teams in that collective achievement.”
Record-Breaking Figures For BKT URC Attendances In 2022/23:
- Total cumulative attendance for rounds 1 to 18 was 1,424,520, the highest in the competition history (including previous iterations)
- Average match attendance for rounds 1 to 18 was 9,893 – the highest in competition history (including previous iterations)
- Total cumulative attendance for the full season (excluding the final) is 1,577,114 – the highest in competition history (including previous iterations)
- The final attendance of 55,000 will bring total attendance for the season to 1,632,114
- Total cumulative attendance for the play-offs so far (quarter-finals and semi-finals) is 152,954 – the highest in competition history (including previous iterations)
- Average match attendance for the play-offs so far (quarter-finals and semi-finals) is 25,432 – the highest in competition history (including previous iterations)
- Leinster v Munster set a new record for highest attendance in northern hemisphere for a non-play-off game at 26,795
- The DHL Stormers set an overall record for a non final play-off game with 47,261 attending their semi-final against Connacht
- All 16 URC teams have a higher average match attendance versus last season, with overall average match attendance increasing by 36%
- 123,307 record attendance for a single round recorded in round 11