Rugby World Cup 1999 income almost £70m
April 1, 2000

The IRB have announced that the profit and loss account for Rugby World Cup 1999 shows total income of £69.7 million and net revenue of £47 million, £600,000 over the original budget forecast.

The figures were presented to the Annual Meeting of the Council of the International Rugby Board by RWC director and New Zealand Council member Rob Fisher on behalf of the Chairman Leo Williams, who was unable to travel from Australia for health reasons.

Fisher noted the surplus from the tournament was 68% of the total revenue, a figure he described as "remarkable in any context, be it sport, industry or business".

Explaining revenue from Rugby World Cup every four years enables the IRB to continue to invest heavily in the continuing development of rugby as a global sport, Fisher noted a dividend of £20 million was paid to the IRB Trust in 1998 followed by another £15 million late last year. "In addition at the moment we have a Trust balance of £19 million, including residual revenues from RWC 1995", he said.

On the gross RWC '99 revenue, the report showed that, of the £69.7 million, £44 million came from the sale of broadcast rights and another £17 million from sponsorship and official suppliers. The comparable figures for RWC 1995 were £19 million and £9 million.

Expenditures included commercial expenses of £13 million (18%) and £2.5 million (4%) for the three-year schedule of qualifying matches and regional tournaments leading up to the 20-team finals, in October and November. Administrative expenses totalled £4.9 million (7%).

Average crowds of 66,830 at the knock-out stages of the finals exceeded the average (61,000) for the last two Soccer World Cups, in the USA (1994) and France (1998).

The total attendance for RWC '99 of 1.7 million represented 72% of stadium capacity in the five hosting countries, a 25% increase on RWC '99 in South Africa. Average attendance across the tournament was 41,700, almost matching the 43, 517 average figure for the 1998 Soccer World Cup.

Commenting on matters of concern during RWC '99, Fisher said: "There were areas connected with the running of the tournament where we could have done much better. These include a specific budget and programme for overall promotion, the schedule of matches, the methodology of supporters' tours and travel, and a breakdown of the ticket arrangements for three of the matches - albeit the numbers involved were small.

"These matters are all the subject of an acknowledgement that improvements are necessary in these areas and there are comprehensive recommendations which will be taken into account by the IRB with Australia and New Zealand, the organisers of Rugby World Cup 2003."

Fisher commented any concerns should be seen in the context that RWC '99 "set new benchmarks for the number of countries participating, the number of spectators, television audiences, the 209 countries where the tournament was broadcast, the extent of the terrestrial coverage, the number of visitors from overseas and the revenue generated."

RWC Chairman Leo Williams prefaces his written report by saying: "There is clear evidence of the overwhelmingly successful financial outcome of the tournament, of the vast numbers of people who attended the matches, and of the even greater numbers who watched on television screens around the world.

"More difficult to value has been the enormous stimulus the tournament has provided to the already powerful growth of rugby as a major international sport. No one can quantify the development impetus to the emerging nations of playing on a world stage against the giants of rugby".

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