With tickets for the 2015 Rugby World Cup on sale to the general public from Friday, excitement about the event is starting to build, Louise Ramsay reports
In 2008 business consultancy Deloitte estimated that the economic impact of a Rugby World Cup on a European host nation would be £2.1 billion. That’s both direct, including money spent by spectators on tickets, accommodation and match day catering, and indirect, such as businesses spending on suppliers, recipients and reinvestment.
New Zealand was rewarded with a significant economic boost when it hosted the World Cup in 2011, which according to a New Zealand government report, contributed NZ$1.73 billion to the economy.
As Rugby World Cup Limited chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The tournament is a low risk, high return event that proved to be good for rugby worldwide and good for New Zealand. We now look forward to Rugby World Cup 2015 and an event that will boost rugby in England, Europe and continue to enhance rugby’s position as a major global sport.”
Andy Ronnie, managing director of Kooga, agrees: “As with the Olympic Games, the RWC is likely to galvanise the nation and raise rugby’s profile. The annual 6 Nations competition is always a very popular sporting event and I’m sure the RWC will take this popularity to another level and hopefully introduce many new people to the game, both as players and spectators.”
At the 2011 RWC Kooga was well represented with seven nations wearing the brand’s replica shirts, but this time around the focus is on the grass roots aspects of the game. The change of direction is part of a conscious decision by Kooga to go back to basics.
Ronnie explains: “We want to focus on what we’re best at, which is manufacturing high quality technical products at affordable prices. This means that to tie in with the World Cup, we’ll be targeting amateur and professional clubs in the UK.
“However, we are also producing a trend-led range of products with a link to the participating nations and the RWC. These will be launched in the early part of 2015 to also coincide with the 6 Nations tournament.
“We’re also keen to raise our profile in the professional market and have recently signed a three-year agreement with the Scarlets and extended our contract with Huddersfield Giants in the Super League. Shortly we’re going to announce a major kit contract too, which will show that Kooga is a serious rugby brand.”
The RWC is being held in 13 venues across the UK and will bring over 400,000 visitors into the country. The venues are spread out across England and Wales, with events taking place over a 44-day period. There will be several days between each team’s fixtures, which means supporters, friends, family and media from home and abroad will have time to explore the host destinations, offering opportunities for sports retailers to cash in on souvenir hunting fans.
The wide spread of the venues will also intensify the relevance of the RWC to its immediate locale. “It’s vital retailers take this opportunity to maximise on the RWC being staged in the UK,” Ronnie says. “They must try and work closely with local schools and clubs and raise their own profile within the community. This is a unique opportunity for retailers and brands to promote themselves and the game of rugby, which will hopefully develop relationships that will benefit all the parties involved.”