According to a report from the Women's Sport Trust, this year's Tiktok Women's Six Nations was the most watched ever in the UK.
Viewership hours for the tournament, which was shown on the BBC, increased from the previous record of 7.7 million, set in 2022, to 10.4 million, an increase of approximately 35%.
— Stella Mills (@stellamills__) May 18, 2023
The number of individual viewers watching more than 3 minutes increased from 5.7 million in 2022, again the previous record, to 6.1 million.
Interestingly, the demographics of viewers have also shifted from 2022, with both the percentages of women and of households with children increasing slightly (from 37% to 42% and 13% to 11%, respectively).
These numbers are consistent with larger trends in UK viewership of women's sport revealed by the report. With a month to go until the end of the season, the number of viewers watching at least 3 minutes of the Barclay's Women's Super League live on tv was already recorded at 15.3 million, as compared to last year's 14.6 million throughout the whole season. Average match audiences were up 36% season-on-season.
Viewing hours of the ICC T20 World Cup also surpassed the previous record by over a million, from 5.77 million in 2018 to 7.11 this year.
The growth of women's sport and especially rugby in the UK, parallel to its growth in Ireland, is exciting, and a silver lining to this year's disappointing Six Nations. However, it means that investing in infrastructure in Ireland to support the development of women's sport is more crucial than ever in order to compete.