The International Rugby Board has announced that it will allocate the next two Rugby World Cup tournaments – the 2015 and 2019 events – at the same time.
The IRB will commence the tender process for one of the world’s biggest sporting events this month. A letter will be sent to member Unions inviting expressions of interest in hosting the tournaments, with the announcement of the successful host Unions scheduled for July 2009.
IRB and Rugby World Cup Ltd. Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The success of Rugby World Cup since its inception in 1987 has been remarkable. In those 20 years it has grown into one of the top five sporting events in the world.
“Rugby World Cup 2007 enjoyed a cumulative global TV audience of 4 billion while 2.2 million fans attended matches. Its success has led to more players and spectators being attracted to the game.
“It is vital we continue to maximise the popularity and success of the tournament. It is the major building block of the game as it provides substantial investment revenue for the development of rugby around the world.
“Rugby World Cup 2007 generated a surplus of over £120 million which has been reinvested into the game through grants to Unions, the underwriting of international tournaments and the funding of targeted strategic high performance programmes to increase the competitiveness of the game.”
He added: “RWC 2007 had an economic impact of around £2.5bn in France. Governments and host nations benefit hugely from staging a Rugby World Cup and we are looking forward to the continued close involvement of governments in future tournaments.
“The IRB believes that awarding two tournaments together will provide a better timeframe for tournament planning and provide longer term certainty for hosts and commercial partners.
“As the revenue generation is vital to our ongoing development plans we recognise that Rugby World Cup has to be held in one of our senior core markets on a regular basis.
“However, the commercial success of the tournament also means we can now consider placing the tournament in new developing markets to assist the game’s strategic growth. It is all about finding the right mix.”
The IRB will maintain its competitive and transparent tender process by inviting all member Unions to express an interest in hosting the tournament.
Key elements of the new process include interested Unions being able to tender to host either tournament or just one of the two tournaments in 2015 and 2019.
The Rugby World Cup Board will drive the process and make a recommendation to Council on the host Union for 2015 and 2019 following the detailed tender process.