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Tournament owners World Rugby and tournament organisers England Rugby 2015, have hailed the success of the biggest Rugby World Cup ever which saw records broken on and off the pitch. This included tickets sales of over 2.47 million, an official fanzone attendance of over one million, Wembley Stadium recording two consecutive Rugby World Cup attendance records and Bryan Habana equalling Jonah Lomu's Rugby World Cup try scoring record with three tries against the USA during six weeks of competitive and compelling rugby.
The pool stage saw fans pack into the venues to witness some of the most competitive matches of any Rugby World Cup. Highlights included Japan claiming one of the greatest upsets in sporting history by beating South Africa and Romania staging the biggest-ever comeback with their win over Canada. The knock-out stages saw some thrilling rugby which included Argentina's pulsating win over Ireland in the quarter-finals and New Zealand's narrow two point win over South Africa in the semi-finals.
As the curtain came down on a spectacular tournament, World Rugby and England Rugby 2015 paid tribute to the 20 teams, 19 match officials, 6,000 volunteers, 11 host cities, 13 match venues, 42 team bases, 15 fanzones and millions of fans who have played a crucial part in delivering a successful and exciting Rugby World Cup 2015.
Over 2.47 million tickets were sold across all 48 matches, including over 100,000 child tickets, through official channels with an average of 98 per cent of tickets sold across all venues. This included 120,000 tickets that were purchased through the tournament's official resale service, a safe and secure platform through which fans could sell their unwanted tickets to other fans at face value. The final ticket breakdown for the tournament was as follows:
England Rugby 2015 has generated over £250 million in ticket revenues, delivering an £80 million surplus to World Rugby and a £15 million surplus to the RFU to be invested into the development of rugby.
Record numbers of spectators and viewers have engaged with the tournament. Rugby World Cup 2015 has welcomed millions of fans to host cities, Fanzones and venues, including an estimated 460,000 fans travelling from overseas. Over one million fans enjoyed the 15 official fanzones, spread across the country in each host city plus Rugby, the birthplace of the game, and London's Trafalgar Square.
The final was enjoyed by an estimated audience of 120 million and the tournament's highlight viewing figures included a record TV audience of 25 million in Japan to watch the match against Samoa and 11.6 million viewers for England v Wales on ITV - the largest rugby audience in the UK since the 2007 final and the highest peak audience for a sporting event since the 2014 football World Cup.
Rugby World Cup 2015 was the most digitally engaged tournament to date with social media activity exceeding the whole of New Zealand's Rugby World Cup 2011 during the 2015 pool stages. Throughout the tournament, #RWC2015 was used twice a second for the duration of the event and over five million times in total, there were over 270 million video views on all social media channels, the website attracted 25 million unique users and the official App was downloaded 2.8 million times with use in 204 nations.
In a first for Rugby World Cup, fans could also engage with the tournament through augmented reality via the ticket design. Over 300,000 used the Blippar app to access unique content by scanning their ticket including match previews, view from your seat and interviews. The introduction of giant Twitter screens at Twickenham Stadium also allowed over 2,000 fans per day in venue and across the world to display their messages of good luck to the teams.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Rugby World Cup 2015 will be remembered as the biggest tournament to date, but I also believe that it will be remembered as the best. England 2015 has been the most competitive, best-attended, most-watched, most socially-engaged, most commercially-successful Rugby World Cup. But this special Rugby World Cup has been about much more than numbers, it has been about the amazing atmosphere in full and vibrant stadia, the excitement around the host nation and in Cardiff, the unforgettable moments played out by the world's best players and the friendships that have been created along the way – the very best of our sport has been on display.
"I am a believer that great people make great events and I would like to thank the organisers England Rugby 2015, the host union the Rugby Football Union, Rugby World Cup Limited, the host cities and venues for delivering a special tournament that has had the teams and fans at heart, but above all, I would like to pay tribute to the volunteers and fans who got behind all 20 teams and who have made this such a special event, the best to date.”
England Rugby 2015 Managing Director Stephen Brown said: “We congratulate New Zealand on their win over Australia to be crowned Rugby World Cup 2015 champions. The spectacular final was a fitting way to conclude the six week tournament which has been enjoyed by millions both here in England and across the globe. To deliver the biggest and best tournament to date is a fantastic achievement and I would like to thank all those who have made Rugby World Cup 2015 so special, from the players to the fans, our venues, cities and team bases and all our volunteers, staff and stakeholders. Rugby World Cup 2015 has truly created unforgettable memories for all involved and been a celebration of rugby; from packed venues with over 2.47 million tickets sold, to over one million fans enjoying the official fanzones, and we hope that the tournament has inspired many to be part of this fantastic game beyond 2015.”
The 6,000 volunteers who formed 'The Pack' have been the faces of the tournament, welcoming millions of fans to England and to the game of rugby. Whether it was directing fans from train stations or entertaining the crowds at fanzones and venues, their enthusiasm help deliver a true celebration of rugby. Across the tournament the 6,000 members of The Pack delivered 22,832 volunteer shifts equating to 238,995 volunteering hours, demonstrating the important role they played in the delivery of Rugby World Cup 2015.
A total of 42 team bases across England and Wales were used during the tournament, providing the 20 teams with top class sporting facilities. During the knock-out phases, the eight teams were hosted at four team bases in and around London and four in and around Cardiff. During the semi-finals, bronze final and final, the four London team bases were used – all four for the semi-finals, and two each for the bronze final and final.
Transport providers played a key role in and around the host cities, helping to get fans to and from the matches, including 1.6 million train passengers and 1.4 million road users. Special train services were put in place for 250,000 journeys and 300,000 shuttle bus movements from city centres to venues. The Rugby World Cup 2015 Journey Planner was used 550,000 times to help fans plan their match day experience.
In addition to the tournament, the Festival of Rugby 2015 was a great success with over one million people around the country joining in with over 1,000 different events to celebrate rugby's biggest year. Highlights included the International Defence Rugby Competition, the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Community Festival, Rugby's Got Balls, supported by Rugby Borough Council featuring large-scale rugby sculptures on display across Rugby town and a HAKA challenge in Manchester.