LONDON, (AFP) – Wednesday marks 100 days to the start of the 2015 World Cup in England, with officials forecasting it will be, in economic terms, the most successful in the tournament’s 28-year, eight edition history.
The competition is set to yield a record £650 million ($999 million, 883 million euros) in revenue and World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper believes the tournament could do more for the British economy than the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“The World Cup will generate £1bn of direct economic impact, £2.5bn indirect. It is probably greater than the Olympics if you take out the capital expenditure of an Olympics (the London Games cost £8.9 billion to stage),” Gosper told the Financial Times.
With the likes of London’s Twickenham, the 80,000 capacity all-seater venue for the final, long known as a major rugby ground and many of the other stadiums for the tournament also well-established sites, the Rugby World Cup will require nothing like the infrastructure spend of the London Olympics.
But just as the much-hyped ‘legacy’ element of the Games has proved hard to quantify in practice, quite what the long-term sporting benefits to rugby union in general and the English game in particular of this year’s World Cup are difficult to forecast at this stage.
It has become an article of faith amongst organisers that a good run by a host nation at a World Cup has a key bearing on the success of the tournament.
England now find themselves in a ‘group of death’ also featuring Australia and Wales, with at least one of the trio set to miss the quarter-finals as only two teams qualify from each pool.
International coaches tend to be judged solely on their results and, to that end, make sure to select their strongest available side.
But England’s Stuart Lancaster, brought in to change a culture of a team regarded as cut adrift from its fans during a mediocre 2011 World Cup, has not been afraid to drop players for reasons other than form or fitness.