Delegates at the 2014 European Sport Tourism Summit heard first hand why Ireland should bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Martin Snedden, CEO of New Zealand’s 2011 Rugby World Cup delivered a strong message to the Thomond Park Stadium audience that Ireland needs to proceed with a bid and can potentially exceed the success of New Zealand’s staging of the competition.
Snedden stated that Ireland is in a better position than New Zealand for a number of reasons. Access from the main rugby playing nations, accommodation, greater tourism infrastructure and the stadia options throughout the country. His message focused on the impact the event had on smaller communities in New Zealand highlighting how venues as small as 14,000 capacity were used to stage pool games.
The participating squads used 24 different host towns for their training and preparation across New Zealand as part of a wider social and community engagement programme. Economically, the event generated an additional 90,000 visitors for New Zealand. More significantly for Ireland, France’s hosting of the event in 2007 welcomed 400,000 visitors over the course of the World Cup competition. The former New Zealand event CEO emphasised the longer term benefits for the host nation post tournament in terms of attracting new business, increased tourism and a national legacy for sport development. New Zealand’s staging of the event made a loss of $30 million which was the budgeted loss by the government. The local economic impact from sport tourists was in excess of $400 million.
W2 Consulting recently hosted the Sport Tourism seminar on England 2015 at London’s World Travel Market. Speakers from the England 2015 staging team, players and the IRB (now World Rugby) outlined how it will use 41 team bases across the UK. The World Rugby controlled event is awarded 6 years out from the staging of the event. The principal benefits are generated through the local economy and visitor expenditure. The host nation’s only commercial role in the tournament is generating revenue from its allocation of competition ticketing from World Rugby. The representatives from England 2015 revealed that a total of 650,000 people applied for tickets for the England versus Australia pool game. The 2015 staging of the event is estimated to be worth £2.5 billion to the UK economy. Among the legacy programmes include a strong focus on women’s rugby and grass roots investment in clubs, coaches and minis rugby.