Friday 18 October 2019

RFU to reap €21m profit from hosting Rugby World Cup

Richie McCaw of New Zealand waves to the fans as the New Zealand team take a lap of honour following the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final
Richie McCaw of New Zealand waves to the fans as the New Zealand team take a lap of honour following the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final

Martyn Ziegler

The Rugby Football Union will benefit to the tune of €21m from the surplus made by the England 2015 tournament, it has been announced.

Stephen Brown, managing director of organisers England 2015, said it had exceeded the revenue target of £250m which covers the surplus it must pay to World Rugby of £80m - leaving an extra £15m (€21m) for the RFU.

Brown said: "From England 2015's perspective this had been a huge success.

"This was a tournament of record attendances and sell-out matches. Wembley Stadium twice broke the record for the biggest ever Rugby World Cup attendance. Our football venues were a huge success and packed for every match.

"Our fanzones have been a huge success. There's been a brilliant atmosphere and they've been a way of expanding this great event.

"We have had over 1million people through 15 official fanzones. They've had huge support from the cities and we've been very grateful for that.

"One of the challenges we had was transport, we always knew it was going to be difficult. We had a few challenges at the beginning. We were never complacent and our transport partners helped us deliver the success we were ultimately able to achieve."

Some 2.47million tickets were sold, achieving 98 per cent of the capacity of the venues.

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World Rugby's chief executive Brett Gosper addressed World Rugby's decision to issue a statement declaring referee Craig Joubert was guilty of an incorrect call at the end of Scotland's quarter-final defeat to Australia.

He told a news conference: "If there's any regret it's the perception we threw him under a bus, which certainly wasn't the case. It was normal for us to say there was a mistake made. He is a world class referee, he continues to be one of our top referees. The perception was not where we would have perhaps liked it."

Earlier, Gosper had insisted England's early exit from their own World Cup "didn't make a dent'' on the success of the tournament.

Gosper told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek: "That little bit of extra froth and buzz of the hosts keeping on going might have added something, but certainly as a tournament globally it really wasn't affected by that departure.

"We've had incredible television audience scores, interest throughout the globe, interest in England and the UK held up. Actually, it really didn't make a dent on the tournament at all.

"It broke every record on every metric we've got: viewing audiences, number of tickets sold, commercial values, sponsorship.

"On core metrics it was certainly the biggest and I think the best also because of the incredible atmosphere."

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