The Rugby World Cup holds great significance and global reach, captivating fans worldwide. In South Africa, rugby is deeply ingrained in the culture, making the event even more influential. ​​This article delves into the consumer insights surrounding the Rugby World Cup, shedding light on how this prestigious tournament affects consumer behaviour, focusing on South Africa’s passionate fanbase.

Understanding the Passion for Rugby in South Africa

South Africa’s love for rugby is undeniable, with staggering statistics reflecting its popularity. According to recent data from YouGov, 44% of the national population consider the Rugby World Cup as one of their top interests. Additionally, 82% rank the rugby Sevens Series among their top three sporting interests. This unwavering passion for the sport fuels a deep emotional connection to the Rugby World Cup 2023, subsequently influencing consumer behaviour. 

Consumer Behaviour During the Rugby World Cup

Consumer behaviour in South Africa during the ongoing Rugby World Cup is having a notable impact on the economy. Driven by deep emotional connections and a sense of identity with the sport of rugby, fans are actively participating in supporting their teams through purchasing team merchandise and related items. This surge in demand for rugby-related products creates economic opportunities for businesses that cater to the needs and preferences of these passionate fans.

The limited-time nature of the tournament adds a sense of urgency, leading to increased demand for exclusive products and experiences. This heightened consumer behaviour during the Rugby World Cup presents businesses with a unique opportunity to capitalise on the event and generate additional revenue. Additionally, sponsorships play a significant role in shaping consumer behaviour, as fans tend to favour brands associated with their favourite teams. This can result in increased sales and brand recognition for sponsoring companies.

It is crucial for businesses to understand and tap into these emotional connections and consumer behaviours in order to effectively engage with their target audience during the Rugby World Cup. By aligning their products and marketing strategies with the enthusiasm and passion of rugby fans, businesses can experience a positive impact on the economy during this exciting sporting event.

The Role of Sponsors

Sponsorships play a crucial role in capitalising on the Rugby World Cup and capturing consumers’ attention. One notable example is MTN, a telecommunications and mobile service provider. According to YouGov profiles, in the past, MTN has enjoyed a 39% positive buzz among South Africans, indicating that consumers have heard positive things about the brand. Additionally, 67% of the national population have considered MTN as their preferred telecommunications provider. The association with the tournament aligns MTN with the passions of rugby fans, contributing to a positive perception and potential consumer engagement.

The Influence of Sponsorships on Consumer Behaviour

A large majority (63%) of South African consumers express their appreciation for seeing their favourite teams partnered with cool sponsors. Furthermore, 56% agree that they are inclined to purchase products from a brand that sponsors their team. This demonstrates the potential impact that sponsorships can have on brand preference and consumer decision-making. Additionally, 54% of the national South African population like to support their teams by buying products from their sponsors.

Supporting Teams Through Sponsorship

Sponsorships not only benefit the sponsors themselves but also provide opportunities for fans to support their teams. By purchasing products from sponsors, fans feel connected to their favourite teams while simultaneously supporting the brands associated with them.

Special Discounts and Fan Appreciation

As passionate supporters, South African sports fans express a desire for special treatment and recognition. A significant 54% of the national population agrees that as sports fans, they deserve special discounts from the sponsors. This insight suggests that offering exclusive promotions or discounts to fans during the Rugby World Cup can foster greater brand loyalty and consumer satisfaction.

Media Consumption during the Rugby World Cup

During the Rugby World Cup, South African consumers engage with various media platforms to stay connected and updated on the tournament. The top six sports media consumption channels are TV (live) – 74%, social media – 62%, TV highlights/repeats – 58%, online live-streaming – 52%, radio – 46%, and mobile apps – 45%. These platforms offer immense opportunities for brands and sponsors to connect with fans, create relevant content, and build brand visibility.


The Rugby World Cup 2023 holds immense potential to shape consumer behaviour in South Africa. As a deeply beloved sport in the country, rugby’s influence on consumer preferences and purchasing decisions is significant.  

The Rugby World Cup provides valuable insights into consumer behaviour and purchasing patterns that can be applied to other major sporting events. Emotional connections and brand loyalty are key driving factors for fans, presenting an opportunity for businesses to align their brand with the event and create products and experiences that cater to their needs. The limited-time nature of these events creates a sense of urgency among fans, leading to increased demand for exclusive products and experiences. By understanding these consumer insights, businesses can effectively engage with their target audience and generate positive economic impact from these prestigious events.