The fantastic success of Rugby League World Cup 2013 was put into sharp perspective today with the publication of the official Tournament Review.
The Review was launched at an event at MediaCityUK in Salford and details the sporting, social, economic and cultural impact made both during and since the 14-nation tournament was staged in the autumn of 2013.
Speaking at the launch, RLWC2013 Tournament Director Nigel Wood said the tournament had provided a platform that will allow the whole sport to grow, both in the UK and across the globe over the next decade and beyond.
“We believe that the success factors identified before the opening game of Rugby League World Cup 2013 were comprehensively delivered against,” said Wood.
“From the opening games beneath the closed roof of Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium to the final at the Theatre of Dreams, Old Trafford, RLWC2013 fired the imagination of fans and the wider public like no Rugby League tournament before it.
“As a sporting spectacle, it was truly wonderful; I’m also delighted that the impact of RLWC2013 stretched beyond the field of play thanks to hugely successful arts, dance and education programmes which touched the lives of thousands of young people.
“The success of RLWC2013 was made possible by the passion, the vision and the commitment of a great many people, including hundreds of volunteers, the dedicated staff who worked tirelessly throughout the tournament and those involved in the host towns and cities.
“Above all the tournament came alive thanks to the supporters from the UK and around the world who ensured that this great celebration of international Rugby League was enjoyed by all who came into contact with it.”
Wood also revealed that the bumper crowds and commercial success of RLWC2013 had allowed the tournament to deliver a record financial return in excess of £3.7 million to the Rugby League International Federation.
The tournament featured 28 games at 21 venues over a five-week period between October 26 and November 30 and was watched live by over 450,000 spectators. It was also watched by an audience of 18.8 million television viewers in the key territories of UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
The direct economic impact of the tournament for the hosts England and Wales was £9.6m . However the host towns and cities also benefited significantly, particularly the hosts of the showpiece occasions of the tournament.
The direct economic benefit to Cardiff of hosting the Opening Ceremony was £8.5m; the semi-final double header at Wembley generated a direct economic impact of £12.3m for London; and as a result of staging the final, Manchester experienced a direct economic benefit of £8.4m.
The tournament reached new areas and attracted new fans to the sport with 14 per cent of tickets purchased by people gaining their first experience of Rugby League whilst 38 per cent of ticket sales were to people residing outside the North of England.
Rugby League’s reputation as a family friendly sport is reflected in the attendance statistics which show that 73 per cent of people watched matches as a family. One third (32 per cent) of the attendees were women and 35 per cent attended with children whilst two thirds (65 per cent) belonged to socio-economic groups ABC1.
The inspirational nature of RLWC2013 is also highlighted in the feedback from fans following the tournament, more than 12,500 of whom indicated they have been inspired to begin playing Rugby League, or play more than previously.
Over 30,000 people said that they had been inspired to become involved in Rugby League in some capacity and almost 14,000 people who had no previous engagement with the sport now intend to become involved.
The event experience provided for fans at the matches was highly rated, with 91 per cent of spectators rating their RLWC2013 experience as 8+ or more out of 10 and 73 per cent of fans stating it was better than any other sporting event they had attended in the past.
RLWC2013 General Manager Sally Bolton said: “After the excitement and euphoria of the tournament and what we felt we had achieved in terms of fan engagement and reach, it is very satisfying to have that reflected in the research findings.
“The staging of the tournament was always focused on generating increased interest in and engagement with the sport and these findings show the opportunity that the sport now has to grow.”
Rugby League World Cup 2013 Tournament Review at a glance
• 28 matches played at 21 venues with a total attendance of 458,463
• 834 hours of television coverage in four key markets of UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand
• UK TV audience of 13.3m, with a peak of 2.8m for the England v New Zealand semi final
• Tournament broadcast into 114 territories with a worldwide audience reach of 134m viewers
• Direct economic impact for the hosts England and Wales was £9.6m
• Direct economic impact to Cardiff (Opening Ceremony at Millennium Stadium) of £8.4m; to London (Big Hit Semi-final at Wembley) of £12.3m; and to Manchester (Final at Old Trafford) of £8.5m
• Financial return to the Rugby League International Federation in excess of £3.7m
• Average 76 per cent spectator occupancy at matches
• 14 per cent of ticket purchasers attended their first Rugby League match during the tournament
• 38 per cent of tickets were purchased by people living outside the North of England
• 92 per cent of ticket purchasers attended as a group; 73 per cent watched live with their family
• 32 per cent of fans were female
• 35 per cent of ticket purchasers attended with children
• 65 per cent of ticket purchasers were from the ABC1 socio-economic range
• 96 per cent of attendees agreed that the tournament had enhanced the perception of host towns and cities were they had attended a match
• 91 per cent of fans said they were excited to be part of the event
• 91 per cent of fans gave the tournament an ‘event experience’ rating of eight or more out of 10
• 73 per cent of spectators felt RLWC2013 was better than any over live sports event they had attended before
• Over 12,000 ticket purchasers were inspired to play Rugby League for first time or play more often
• More than 30,000 people intend to become involved or more involved Rugby League in some way, of which 13,800 people who had no previous engagement with the sport have been inspired to become involved for the first time
• RLWC2013 utilised over 650 volunteers in England and Wales. 52 per cent of those had not volunteered previously and 72 per cent rated their experience as 8 or more out of 10
• 83 per cent of spectators said the tournament gave them pride in their country whilst 77 per cent of spectators said the tournament helped to enhance community spirit