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World Rugby reveals record-breaking impact of 2015 World Cup

World Rugby, the global governing body for rugby union, has revealed that England’s hosting of the 2015 World Cup resulted in the most economically successful edition of the national team tournament in its history.

Conducted by consulting firm EY, ‘The Economic Impact of Rugby World Cup 2015’ report said that last year’s event generated almost £2.3bn (€3bn/$3.4bn) in economic output, a record amount for the competition.

Staged in England and Wales from September 18 to October 31, the tournament added £1.1bn to the UK GDP and attracted 406,000 international visitors from 151 nations outside of the UK, who collectively spent £958m during their stay in the 11 host cities. The competition also supported 34,000 jobs or volunteer roles across the two host countries.

World Rugby also said that the competition was its most commercially successful World Cup, with the anticipated surplus of £150m to surpass the previous record of £122 million set at the 2007 competition hosted by France. 

Last year’s World Cup was also the best attended edition of the tournament, with 2.47 million ticket sales securing the competition’s status as the fifth largest single-sport event ever staged. The report also revealed that 98 per cent of tickets were sold by organisers.

The 2015 World Cup was also the most viewed in history, with 16,000 hours of coverage watched by 183 million fans in 209 territories worldwide, while an audience of 120 million tuned in to watch the final.

Incoming World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “This new report reflects Rugby World Cup's status as one of the best-loved and most prestigious major sports events, while highlighting the significant social and economic benefits that make the tournament such an attractive low-investment, high-return hosting proposition for governments and unions alike.”