The All Blacks' impressive 2015 Rugby World Cup final victory 34-17 over close rivals Australia played in the small hours of Sunday morning New Zealand time drew in over a million viewers.
Nearly half a million (494,900) people watched the match live on Sky while 670,900 viewers in the AP 5+ category watched the match live on free to air channel Prime, according to ratings provided by Nielsen.
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The figures were down considerably from the number of viewers who watched the 2011 edition where the All Blacks defeated France in a nail biting match by a single point in Auckland to claim their second title, although that match was broadcast on TV1, TV3, Sky and Maori TV. It recorded a combined viewing audience of 2,036,900 and was the highest rating TV broadcast in New Zealand.
Interest for the All Blacks fortunes in Rugby World Cup 2015 rose as the men in black progressed through the tournament’s knock-out stages.
While only 334,500 tuned in to see the ABs stumble past a passionate Argentinian side in their opening tournament match, this number grew to over a million for the thrashing of France by 62-13 in the quarter final, which kicked off at the leisurely hour of 8am New Zealand time.
Interest dropped back for the semi-final against South Africa, with 679,900 tuning in at the insomniac friendly hour of 4am to see the All Blacks scrape through. Although Nielsen research shows interest in rugby is on the wane amongst New Zealanders, it's still a major drawcard on TV and, at a time when Sky is facing more competition than ever, the pay TV broadcaster will be happy it renewed its rights deal for another five years, starting in 2016.
World Rugby is also claiming the tournament was a success, releasing figures showing that a global audience of 120 million tuned in to watch the final and many millions more engaged through social media.
As Stuff reported: "The tournament hashtag #RWC2015 was used twice a second for the duration of the tournament and over five million times in total. There were over 270 million video views on all social media channels, the tournament website attracted 25 million unique users and the official App was downloaded 2.8 million times with use in 204 nations."