Rugby fans from Japan and Australia are the most enthusiastic in Asia Pacific, according to a new study that uses stadium attendance data to profile supporters of the game, but interest in the game extends beyond those countries taking part in the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

Near, a location-based customer profiling company, collected mobile devices IDs from 60,000 rugby fans at stadiums in ten cities across six countries (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the USA) in 2018, covering 12 tournament /matches, with location data analysis performed over a four-month period, including a week before and after Rugby Sevens tournaments, International Test Matches and the Super Rugby competition.

And it reported that fans from Japan and Australia were seen attending all the rugby games in the study. (For more, read the report in full: Keeping up with the rugby fans: Data-led insights on rugby fans in APAC – 2018 games.)

Fans from the USA, UK and Indonesia were seen at all games but one, while fans from New Zealand and Hong Kong were seen at nine games and fans from the Philippines at seven.

According to World Rugby, there are 25 million rugby fans in India – and some of these were seen at the four international tests researchers assessed, all of which were played outside their home country.

Fans from South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong were strongly in evidence at a Japan home game versus Georgia, while fans from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore were also present.

The enthusiasm for the game in Japan was further highlighted by the fact that fans from Japan were seen at all four international tests, even when the Japanese team wasn’t playing.

The study found that a third of rugby fans also followed other sports and visited other sporting facilities, from soccer stadiums to badminton courts.

And among rugby tourists, the preferred fast food options included KFC and McDonald’s; in Japan specifically, however, the favourite was MOS Burger.

Sourced from Near; additional content by WARC staff