Japan on track to host a very special Rugby World Cup 2019

World Rugby has welcomed strong and accelerated progress as the international federation completed its week-long review in Tokyo of Rugby World Cup 2019 readiness.
  • Preparation on track ahead of year to go milestone
  • Exceptional domestic and global ticketing demand with more than two million applications to date
  • Over 500,000 participants in Asia 1 Million legacy project

World Rugby has welcomed strong and accelerated progress as the international federation completed its week-long review in Tokyo of Rugby World Cup 2019 readiness. 
With 463 days to go, global excitement is building and tournament preparations are on track ahead of the one year-to-go milestone on 20 September.

Significant ticketing demand, accelerated match venue readiness, excellent host city engagement, diligent cost management and the launch of the legacy programme are strong indicators that Asia’s first Rugby World Cup will be a very special and successful event delivering lasting benefits.

Tournament Director Alan Gilpin said: “These tournament review meetings are important to the successful delivery of one of the world’s biggest and best-loved major sports events.

“From match venues, team camps and host cities readiness, to the ticketing and volunteering programmes and tournament budget, strong progress has been made in the last six months. This acceleration in progress has been achieved by strong partnership between World Rugby, the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee, the Japan Rugby Football Union, host cities and national government.

“We are particularly encouraged with the strong demand for the ticketing pre-sales phases with more than two million tickets applied for to date. The challenge for all events is to convert demand into sales, but this is a superb position to be in with a little over a year to go.”

“We leave Tokyo confident that preparations are on track to host a very special and successful Rugby World Cup. However, positive momentum is key and we have reminded our friends at the Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee that there is not a moment to lose with the year to go milestone rapidly approaching.”

World Rugby undertakes a detailed functional area review of all aspects of tournament hosting every quarter and major milestones achieved since the last review in February include:

  • Strong ticketing programme progress with more than two million applications across the priority sales phases to date and significant official supporter tour and hospitality demand
  • Successful launch of the ‘Team No-Side’ volunteer programme with more than 16,000 applications received
  • Selection of 52 team camps that will be home to the teams during the six-week tournament
  • Legacy programme on track with more than 500,000 participants to date in the Asia 1 Million Impact Beyond legacy programme
  • Record commercial programme with a strong inventory of leading brands within the tournament’s Worldwide Partner, Sponsor, Supplier and Broadcaster categories
  • Strong host city and venue readiness progress, laying the strong foundations for a tournament that has teams and fans at heart

Japan Rugby 2019 CEO Akira Shimazu said: "With 462 days to go, I am pleased to say that we are on track to welcome the teams, the Japanese public and international fans to what promises to be an excellent Rugby World Cup in 2019. 

"These meetings are an important step as we prepare to host the world's best rugby teams and fans from all over the world. We enjoy excellent collaboration with Mr Gilpin and the World Rugby team and we are fully committed to the success of this world-class event by implementing a thorough readiness programme.

"Rugby World Cup 2019 will be massive for Japan. According to the latest data, the number of overseas visitors is expected to reach 400,000, while the overall impact on the Japanese economy estimated to be 437.2 billion yen." 

Japan is gearing-up to be the centre of the rugby world next year and new research conducted by Nielsen demonstrates that Japan is home to 14.9 million rugby fans, a fan-base that has increased by 20 per cent since the national team’s heroics at Rugby World Cup 2015.

Every effort is being made across the continent to maximise this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow the sport across the region. World Rugby set the ambitious target of reaching one million players by 2020 across the continent as part of the Impact Beyond strategy.

Asia Rugby, the regional association affiliated to World Rugby, has invested directly into Asia 1 Million projects in China, India, Pakistan and the Philippines since 2017 and is looking to invest into more countries in 2018.

The Japan Rugby Football Union, together with the 12 host city unions, governments and rugby schools, are running 155 rugby introduction days for children new to the game across Japan in the months of April, May and June. In April alone, there were 100 rugby introduction days in Japan.

Gilpin added “The World Rugby Council selected Japan as hosts because it presented a huge opportunity to grow the sport in Asia. The Impact Beyond 2019 legacy programme is shaping-up to deliver a strong and sustainable hosting legacy for Asia with more than 500,000 of the targeted one million new players attracted across the region."