World Rugby claims rise in following driven by U.S., India and China


A study published by World Rugby claims the sport now has a global following of almost 800 million people, with non-traditional markets like the U.S. and India driving its worldwide growth.

The research, which was carried out by market analytics group Nielsen Sports, says that out of rugby union's 793 million followers, 338 million consider themselves "fans", an increase of 24 percent from 2013.

World Rugby says there are now 33 million fans in both the U.S. and China, while there are 25 million in India. Described as "emerging markets" by the sport's governing body, those countries are now said to account for around 30 percent of the sport's global fanbase.

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Photo: Getty Images. Article: ESPN.