How much money is the Rugby World Cup worth?

The Springbok’s bid to win the Rugby World Cup in begins in earnest on Friday (11 September) as the team prepares to fly out to London, England later.

Just how valuable is it to host a major sporting competition? Quite valuable if you believe a report by financial service firm Ernst & Young: The economic impact of Rugby World Cup 2015.

It finds that the 2015 edition of the Rugby World Cup 2015 will attract more international visitors than any previous edition, with up to 466,000 visits expected across the duration of the tournament, spending an average of between £59 (R1,200) and £3,546 (R74,000).

In total, international visitors are expected to contribute up to £869 million in direct expenditure – from purchasing tickets to travel costs, accommodation expense, match day entertainment and in visiting other local tourist attractions.

Investment in infrastructure for the tournament is expected to reach £85 million, bringing lasting benefits to the host cities.

“The added exposure to a global market will also provide opportunities to attract future tourists and businesses alike,” the report said.

Read: How much will the Commonwealth Games cost South Africa?

In total, the competition is expected to deliver up to £2.2 billion (R46 billion) in output to the host economy, translating into an additional £982 million (R2.06 billion) of value added to GDP.

England is expected to attract between 19,000 — 21,000 tourists from Africa – mostly from South Africa, with 78,000 – 86,000 expected from Australasia and 266,000 – 294,000 from around Europe.

The report said that the average visitor from Africa will spend £200 (R4,200) per day during their visit, and will stay an average of 22 days

Rugby, according to the E&Y report, is now played in more countries around the world than ever before, with 119 countries  participating in the sport, supporting an estimated 6.6 million players globally.

The popularity of the sport has increased dramatically since the first RWC was held 27 years ago. Ticket sales have increased from 600,000 in 1987, in New Zealand, to a peak of 2.2 million in 2007, in France.

The inaugural RWC was broadcast to 17 territories across the world and could be watched by 200 million people, whilst the 2011 edition had a reach of 207 territories and a potential television audience of 4 billion.

The World Cup is being hosted across 13 venues in 11 cities and kicks-off at Twickenham on 18 September.

Closer to home

The 2009 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa boosted the local economy by as much as R1.5 billion over a six week period, thanks to the deep pockets of of 37,000 visitors from Britain and Ireland.

An evaluation of the Football World Cup hosted by South Africa in 2010 showed that the country spent R55.3 billion (R22.9 billion on stadia and related infrastructure).

The total impact on South Africa’s economy (direct & indirect) was estimated to be R93 billion with 63% spent before the event took place.

South Africa could host the next Rugby World Cup in 2019 following a series of setbacks to current hosts, Japan, while the country has recently been awarded the honour of hosting The Commonwealth Games of 2022.

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How much money is the Rugby World Cup worth?