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Economic impact of the Rugby World Cup

September 14, 2015

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(Via Flickr.com user Land Rover MENA)

The 2015 Rugby World Cup, one of this year’s biggest global sporting events, kicks off Sept. 18 in the United Kingdom. According to an Ernst & Young study, it’s poised to give a big boost to the UK’s gross domestic product.

The study says that the international event will add approximately $1.5 billion in economic output to the UK.

Big sports events are sought after by cities for just that reason, as you’ll find out if your town bids for a major sporting event.

Although the true cost of hosting the RWC is unclear, it appears that the infrastructure costs for the event — about $131 million — were small, compared with recent Olympics and FIFA World Cup tournaments.

The games will be played throughout England and Wales, so unlike the 2012 Olympics, cities besides London can benefit from the influx of visitors (though the capital will still be the biggest benefactor of the RWC economic boost.)

The RWC itself is also expected to make a killing during this year’s tournament. According to EY, 2.3 million tickets have been sold, and more lucrative sponsorship deals are being struck than ever before, as the game becomes more popular in Asia and the U.S.

Many American sports fans may  have no clue that the RWC is even happening, but according to the Financial Times, rugby is the fastest growing team sport in the U.S., with 1.4 million players.

Rugby is also grabbing big headlines in Asia, thanks to Japan hosting the event in 2019.

So, it might be time for U.S. sports journalists to start paying attention to rugby. Find out if there’s an amateur or college team in your area that has a strong following.

For story ideas, it’s worth analyzing how much economic benefit these international events actually add to a country’s economy. Use our story about Boston saying no to the 2024 Olympics as a starting point.

Then, read this story from the New Zealand Herald about how workers in New Zealand are imploring their bosses to let them come into work later, so they can watch the rugby matches live in the wee hours of the morning.


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