Rugby World Cup
Report highlights economic benefit of RWC
October 22, 2008
A close up view of the Webb Ellis Cup, awarded to the winners of the Rugby World Cup
Will the Rugby World Cup prove a bountiful tournament for New Zealand in 2011? © IRB

A successful bid to bring the 2015 or 2019 Rugby World Cup to British shores could benefit the economy to the tune of £2billion, according to a new report.

Wales, Scotland and Ireland - along with Italy, South Africa, Australia and Japan - have expressed an interest in hosting both tournaments. England, who lost out in the race to host the 2007 World Cup, are focusing on a bid to stage the 2015 event while Russia are keen on 2019.

The Sports Business Group at advisory firm Deloitte was commissioned by the International Rugby Board to produce a study into the potential economic impact of hosting a World Cup. Deloitte have estimated the tournament can generate up to £2.1billion in economic benefits for the host country, with a relatively low amount of investment required.

Attendances at the 2007 World Cup tournament in France topped two million, which provided a direct boost to the travel, hospitality and leisure markets.

The report found direct expenditure into the economy could be as high as £810 million spread across the whole country, while the event could generate between £260m and £1billion in gross value added terms. The study also concluded the host nation government could expect to accrue £100million in sales tax alone.

The independent report into the potential economic impact of Rugby World Cup (RWC) to host nations has indicated that the tournament is one of, if not the most cost effective major sports events in the world.

"The IRB has worked very hard since the inaugural tournament in 1987 to develop a Rugby World Cup that delivers world class sporting action, surplus revenue for reinvestment in the Game, plus the provision of major benefits to the Host Nation from a sporting and economic standpoint. This report highlights all of these objectives are being met," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

"Rugby is a sport that has an ethos almost unique in the modern sporting environment that includes traditions such as large numbers of travelling supporters, sportsmanship, and social and business networking. Add this to elite performance on the field and it makes Rugby World Cup very attractive to any potential host nation."

"The report confirms that the tournament is now the third biggest in the world in terms of spectator attendance and the influx of international visitors. This creates many challenges and no such event can now be delivered without the input of several key stakeholders including Government."

"We believe the potential economic benefits of up to £2.1 billion for Rugby World Cup, combined with low construction expenditure due to a policy of utilising existing stadiums, is extremely cost effective. It is a low-risk, high-return tournament," added Mr Lapasset.

The Deloitte report points out that there is an increasing realisation of the significant benefits to be earned from hosting major international sports events. Many cities and countries now actively pursue hosting major events as a strategic priority and ensure that they leverage the event to the maximum.

"Major events can drive significant numbers of visitors to a country leading to increased business activity and potential inward investment. Rugby World Cup attracts travelling supporters in huge numbers bringing colour and vibrancy to the event in addition to significant additional expenditure. The attributed Gross Value Added figure of up to £1 billion is very significant," said Dan Jones, Partner in the Deloitte Sports Business Group.

"Innovative methods of promoting Rugby World Cup make the tournament available to those beyond the ticket holders. Live sites and festivals have successfully been introduced to enhance the visitor experience and deliver increased economic benefits in all regions of the Host Nation.

"With limited stadium developments required to host a Rugby World Cup, there is greater certainty over costs. This results in reduced financial risk for the event and is likely to increase the return on investment for the Host Nation.

"The recent decision to award two consecutive tournaments to Host Nations concurrently gives the Host Nation and other stakeholders further certainty, which in turn allows them additional preparation time to maximise the economic impact of the tournament.

"The fact that in August 10 nations had expressed an interest in hosting RWC 2015 and RWC 2019 demonstrates the global prestige associated with this event and confirms our findings about the potential impact of Rugby World Cup," added Mr Jones.

Key findings of Rugby World Cup impact and benefits are:

· £610 million - £2.1billion total economic impact to a Host Nation, including indirect impact ripple effects.

· £260 million - £1 billion in Total Gross Value Added (the accepted measure of additional economic impact) to the Host Nation

· £200 - £810 million in direct expenditure into the Host Nation Economy by RWC visitors

· £100 million potential additional sales tax income to a Host Nation Government

· 44-day event leads to high visitor numbers and impact

· Limited stadium investment is required compared to other global sports events

· Impact spread across whole of Host Nation due to spread of matches

Rugby World Cup 2007 delivered:

· Over 4 billion global cumulative TV audience in 238 countries

· 2.3 million paying spectators

· 97% average stadium capacity in France

· 350,000 international visitors

· 28% increase in registered Rugby players following tournament

The IRB will announce the hosts of the 2015 and 2019 World Cups in July next year. It is the first time two host nations will have been appointed at the same time. The idea is that doing so will boost the chances of the World Cup being awarded to a developing rugby nation.


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