Each Wednesday we take a look at the world of the Irish and international sports media, the stories, the numbers and the organisations that are, more than ever before, our window on the world of sport…



An average of 798,000 tuned into Virgin Media One for the Irish Rugby defeat to France on Sunday, peaking at 876,000.

That was up 69,000 on the previous week’s loss to Wales, also on Sunday afternoon.  Over 1.5 million tuned into the coverage at some point over that weekend.

The numbers coming through from across Europe have also been positive.

France 2 which broadcast the game in France reported an average audience of 5.86 million, representing 37.3 per cent of audience share for the match.

That is substantially up on the previous week’s 4.11 million for the french victory over Italy and is the highest audience for a Guinness six Nations match in France since 2014.

ITV reported that an average of 8.7 million viewers tuned into the first-round victory by Scotland over England.

That is the highest figure for the fixture in a decade and it was particularly strong in the 16-34 age group with 46 per cent of those watching TV at the time tuning in.

This is the last year of the current broadcast rights contract. The figures will be more keenly watched than ever before with a major investment from CVC and a potential move behind a TV paywall coming around the corner.



ITV in Britain and Virgin Media in the Republic of Ireland will get to show six races live each day from this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

The Racecourse Media Group which owns the rights to the media coverage from the Festival has traditionally enabled broadcast of the first five races on each day to be broadcast free to air with Racing TV having exclusivity on the final two races.

This year, with the likelihood of spectators almost at zero, the additional race has been made available to engage with the widest possible audience.


133,000 viewers tuned in to RTÉ’s coverage of the Dublin Racing Festival from Leopardstown. This was down by 17,000 on the Festival in 2020 but up by the same number on the viewership from 2019.

The 2021 broadcast went head to head with coverage on Virgin Media One of Ireland’s opening match in the Guinness Six Nations, which attracted a viewership of 729,000.

The coverage from Leopardstown was seen by 10 per cent of the available audience and was broken down into average audiences of 65,000 on Saturday for the Channelle Irish Champion Hurdle and 68,000 on Sunday for the Paddy power Irish Gold Cup.


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