LONDON – As fans pore over fixture lists, administrators smile at balance sheets, with the 2015 Rugby World Cup promising a record payday for the sport.
New markets and record attendances will help the event, starting in London on Friday, pull in some £240 million ($369.94 million) in revenue, said the chief executive of World Rugby.
Sixty-five percent of that figure will come from TV rights, boosted by new growth markets and mushrooming interest, Brett Gosper told reporters.
“This will be the most viewed, with 103 broadcasters in 205 territories — that is up on about 15 percent on the previous (2011) World Cup,” the Australian said on Tuesday.
“We will have 24 live matches screened in Germany … 22 live matches in China for the first time.
“We know it will be the biggest, but we think it will be the best — it certainly will be a record breaker on several fronts.”
Gosper said organizers had focused on free-to-air broadcasters to maximize reach. The action will be accessible to a potential reach of more than 770 million households.
World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset emphasized that his body’s mission was to grow the sport.
“England 2015 represents a golden opportunity to reach, engage and inspire new audiences across the UK and around the world,” he said at Twickenham Stadium.
The Sept. 18-Oct. 31 World Cup, hosted across 13 venues in England and one in Cardiff, has sold 2.25 million tickets — 95 percent of those available.
This record figure has helped projected commercial revenue jump 60 percent from the last edition, staged in New Zealand four years ago.
A lucrative World Cup spells good news for players of all levels worldwide.
World Rugby said it would commit an anticipated injection of more than £180 million ($277.45 million) between 2013 and 2016.
Part of that is to fund participation and increasing competition across the 120 national member unions, World Rugby said.
England kick off the 2015 Rugby World Cup on Friday night with a Group A game against Fiji.