Fans of rugby league flocked online to stay in touch with the Rugby League World Cup with over a million visits to RLWC21’s website during the tournament alone.
The Siva Tau v Sipi Tau performed in unison by the Tongan and Samoa players before their quarter final was unsurprisingly the top performing piece of content on social media, with the spine tingling performance attracting nearly 10 million views on TikTok alone. There were 194 million impressions across all platforms and 58 million video views.
However, nothing can beat the experience of watching rugby league live and this was reflected in the number of people coming through the turnstiles with nearly 500,000 people attending matches, with 67,502 people inside Old Trafford for the men’s and women’s finals double header.
The record attendance for a Wheelchair rugby league match was broken four times, three times at the Copper Box and then at the final in Manchester, while England women’s opening game against Brazil at Headingley was the highest attended women’s rugby league match in the northern hemisphere.
The England v Samoa match in Newcastle and Australia v Fiji in Leeds was the highest ever cumulative opening day in a RLWC in the northern hemisphere, while the 23,179 that were in the DW stadium for England’s quarter final win against Papua New Guinea was a record crowd for that stage of the tournament as were the men’s semi-finals. Particularly encouraging was that of the people who attended the opening game at St James’ Park, over half of them were from the North-East, while England’s resounding victory in the match saw a huge surge of ticket sales for the Emirates semi-final from London buyers. With neither area in the traditional rugby league heartlands it was hugely encouraging to see the demand for tickets with one of the key objectives of the tournament being to grow rugby league in new areas.
The two men’s semi-finals, held at the Emirates and Elland Road, saw the highest aggregate attendance with 67,500 people watching Australia and Samoa earn their place in the final while the double header World Cup Finals at Old Trafford saw the highest ever gate receipts for a game of Rugby League in the Northern Hemisphere with receipts 62% above the 2013 men’s final.