Organisers of the 2015 Rugby World Cup will return an £80m (€111m/$123m) surplus to World Rugby, the global governing body of rugby union, it has been announced.
In addition to the sum, generated after the organisers of the national team tournament in England surpassed their revenue target of £250m, a further £15m will be given to the competition’s host national governing body, the Rugby Football Union. World Rugby will use the surplus to attempt to close the gap between the tier one and tier two nations.
World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper hailed the tournament, which was won by New Zealand on Saturday, as the “biggest and best ever,” with 98 per cent of the 2.4 million available seats sold and the event securing the largest broadcast reach in the history of the competition.
“The whole tournament has shown our sport at its very best in every possible way, not only to existing fans but to new fans,” Gosper said, according to the Guardian newspaper. “We’ve had comebacks, we’ve had ranking upsets. Looking ahead we’re committed to closing that performance gap even further and we will work hard in partnership with the unions to make sure our investment in competition, administrative structures, coaching and technical support reflects our desire to create very competitive tournaments in future World Cups.”
The average winning margin between tier one and tier two teams was 30 points, down from 36 points in 2011.
“One of World Rugby’s objectives is to increase the competitiveness and sustainability of the international game,” Gosper said. “I’m delighted this has been the most competitive Rugby World Cup to date. Our job is to make sure that every World Cup is more competitive than the last and we have achieved that at each World Cup. The tournament has produced some exceptional matches and projected hugely compelling rugby to the world.”