The 2015 Rugby World Championship: A numbers game

News & Insights

MoneyPlus Features Team

2nd September 2015 at 12:55pm

Every four years, the Rugby World Championship takes place somewhere new, and this year, the sport is coming home. The 2015 tournament will kick off on 18 September, with the last match taking place on 31 October. With 20 teams participating in 13 venues across the UK, it’s one of the largest sporting events in the world.

Along with a great sense of cheer and camaraderie, the tournament contributes a significant boost to the country’s economy. Here are just some of the things we found out…

The fans: where they come from and how much they’re spending

Over the duration of the tournament, 422,000 to 446,000 international visitors are anticipated to be in attendance, and they’re expected to contribute up to £869m in expenditure – which doesn’t include their £68m spend on tickets. The money made from the remaining ticket purchases (from UK residents) adds up to £250m, with 2.3m tickets being sold in total. Incidentally, this figure has risen somewhat since 1987, when a comparatively meagre 604,000 tickets were sold.

This world cup really is an international event. Here’s a breakdown of where the fans are travelling from:

  • 9% North America
  • 22% The UK
  • 41% Europe
  • 4% Africa
  • 19% Australasia
  • 5% Other

With there being so many international fans in attendance, several family activities and entertainment events have been set up alongside the matches. They’re hosted in Fan Zones, and although entry will be free, an estimated £13m in revenue will likely be generated through food and drink sales alone, with up to £5m of this being from international visitors. In the actual sporting venues, the food and drink figure is projected to be a cool £32m.

How the Rugby World Championship has changed

Although the first tournament didn’t take place until 1987, there was talk of one being put in place as early as the 1950s. The International Rugby Board opposed the idea, making it clear that they didn’t want its unions to be part of a world cup. However, in the early eighties (after several other attempts to get something off the ground), Australia and New Zealand joined forces to put a proposal forward, and the rest is history. Back then, just 16 unions were involved, whereas 95 are involved today with 83 nations involved in qualification, plus 12 qualifying directly.

We’ve collected some fascinating facts and figures, covering everything from the amount invested in the tournament and the hours of play to the stadiums taking part and the player stats. Read on, and prepare to impress fellow rugby fans as you sit down to watch the games unfold on 18 September.


Infographic - 2015 Rugby World Championship


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