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EDITORIAL: All Records Broken, World Cup Lifts Rugby To New High

Even before the final kicked off this morning, the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England has been hailed as the “biggest and best” in the 28-year history of the tournament.
01 Nov 2015 10:30
EDITORIAL: All Records Broken, World Cup Lifts Rugby To New High

Even before the final kicked off this morning, the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England has been hailed as the “biggest and best” in the 28-year history of the tournament.

It can truly claim as the world’s fastest-growing sport on the back of a record-breaking RWC.

Despite the host nation England’s humiliating exit at the pool stage, World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset revealed the tournament is already poised to beat all records since it started in 1987.

And this could be attributed to the tremendous support of fans, especially from host countries England and Wales, who continued to build on the momentum and the excitement from the pool stages to the knockout phase of the competition.

“RWC 2015 will be remembered as the biggest tournament to date, but I also believe that it will also be remembered as the best,” Lapasset said  “It truly has been a very special and global six-week celebration of rugby that has showcased the very best of our sport, but also the best of England, and of course Cardiff, as hosts.”

According to figures released by World Rugby, the spinoffs included;

 – £1 billion direct cash injection into the UK economy, a boost of £2.5 billion when taking into account knock-on effects and the retail sales rise of 1.9 per cent last month;

 – More than 1.5 million supporters, a record, have visited fan zones across the country with a further million involved in the ‘Festival of Rugby’ activities;

 – 97 per cent of the tickets sold, a record total of more than 2.4 million (France sold 2.25 million in 2007);

 – A world-record attendance of 89,267 at Wembley to see Ireland defeat Romania;

 – It’s the most discussed sporting event of the year on social media, with more than 250 million views of official video content and a total social reach of around one billion;

 – Unprecedented audiences around the world with broadcast market share growth in Japan, United States, Brazil, Germany and Holland;

 – World Rugby poise to benefit from a record surplus of £150 million, enabling it to commit to a £350 million spend on the global game by next year;

 – The Brave Blossoms’ exploits drew record TV audiences in Japan, reaching 25 million for the game against Samoa, which augurs well for when they host the 2019 tournament;

 – Competitiveness of the Tier Two countries is opening up new markets in Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala and Ecuador;

 – 3 million fans in Germany tuning in to the World Cup;

 

The tournament has not been without its controversy either, including the fallout from the decision by referee Craig Joubert wrongly to award a penalty to Australia that cost Scotland a place in the Cup semifinal. And the criticisms of the television match officials and complaints from the Tier Two nations that they did not receive equality in disciplinary hearings over foul play.

But this could be taken on board as World Rugby capitalised on the success of this tournament in the build-up to the next 2019 RWC in Japan.

Definitely it would be bigger, better and more competitive in four years time in Tokyo.

There’s no better person to comment on the competitiveness of the World Cup than All Blacks captain Richie McCaw who’s been there, done it and who could lift the William-Webb Ellis Trophy for the second time today.

“In the World Cup the so-called ‘easy’ games aren’t easy anymore. The whole standard of rugby you’ve seen in this tournament has lifted.”

Rugby Union is on track for a massive growth. And Tier Two nations like Fiji will continue to benefit from the spinoffs of being associated with record-breaking, fastest growing global game.

Feedbackoseab@fijisun.com.fj

 



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