One in three of the world’s 800 million rugby followers are Indian, Chinese, American or Brazilian, according to World Rugby’s largest fan surveys.
There are 33 million fans in the US, with national team the Eagles having won two Olympic gold medals and qualified for all but one Rugby World Cup, but China has the same number of fans even though their world No.66 ranked national team are yet to play in a major tournament.
India, with a national side far from even contending a regional rugby title, has 25 million fans, as many as Australia’s entire population.
The top 10 rugby fan nations are now the US, China, India, France, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Argentina.
Asia, North America, South America and Africa have the fastest-growing fanbases with numbers in Brazil, China, India, Mexico and USA rising by 50 per cent since 2013.
New Zealand, Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales cannot compete with the sheer numbers, but their fans arguably make up for that with passion.
The survey, conducted by Nielson Sports, shows the average age of rugby fans has fallen two years to 36, indicating the code is successfully attracting younger audiences.
Also, more than one in three fans are now women or girls in both traditional rugby nations and the emerging markets.