South African captain Siya Kolisi lifted the Rugby World Cup on Saturday but the number of winners from the tournament extended well beyond the boundaries of a single country according to World Rugby’s immediate post-tournament report card.
With a record 99.3 per cent attendance across the tournament, resulting in 1.84 million tickets sold, in addition to more than 1.13 million people filling the official fan zones and over 400,000 international visitors making their way to Japan, the event was deemed a major success in many different ways.
Records for fan engagement around the globe were set with 1.7 billion digital video views to date and an estimated worldwide broadcast audience of 400 million, including a domestic all-time record television audience of 54.8 million for the Japan v Scotland pool phase match.
World Rugby and the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee can look back on an incredible six weeks of action that saw competitiveness increase, to a degree, on the field of play with the performances of Japan in particular reduce the the average winning margin between established and developing nations to just over 30 points though that is still a cause for concern with the group stages going very much according to script still, outside of the hosts defeating Ireland and Scotland.
Off the pitch, Japan 2019 has proved to be the most impactful in history with World Rugby reporting more than 1.8 million new rugby participants across Asia as part of the Impact Beyond legacy programme.
A record-breaking £2 million was raised for the ChildFund Pass It Back initiative, Rugby World Cup’s principal charity partner, benefitting over 25,000 underprivileged young people in Asia via rugby and life skills programmes.
The tournament is also on track to yield a record 437 billion Yen economic impact for Japan. That equates to €3.62 Billion, a strong increase on the figure of 2.66 Billion estimated by EY out of the 2015 tournament in England.
“Rugby World Cup 2019 has been one of the greatest, if not the greatest of all time, and certainly the most ground-breaking in terms of bringing the game to new audiences and attracting new fans to the sport we love,” said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont.
“On behalf of the whole global rugby family, I would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts Japan and the Japanese people for being such wonderful, humble and history-making hosts.”
“While South Africa will rightly take home the Webb Ellis Cup following their outstanding victory, the amazing performances of the Brave Blossoms undoubtedly brought some of the most memorable moments of the tournament.”
“The way Japan reacted to the incredibly difficult events surrounding Typhoon Hagibis was a tribute to the resilience and determination of the people of this wonderful country and we continue to think about all those who lost loved ones or were affected by this tragic event.”
“Finally, I would like to thank all 20 teams, the players, match officials, host cities and the amazing ‘No Side’ volunteers who all played their full part in ensuring Rugby World Cup 2019 will live long in the memory. Japan 2019 has broken records galore and has changed the face of rugby forever.”
At Sport for Business we would like to thank our friends at Bank of Ireland for their support in bringing you daily coverage of the Rugby World Cup from an off the field perspective over the last two months.