- Tournament preparation on track with an extensive testing and readiness programme set to begin
- Japan 2019 set to be the most-impactful Rugby World Cup with a legacy-first approach introducing young people to rugby in Asia in record numbers
- Tournament capturing hearts and minds with in Japan and around the world with record ticket demand
- More than 400,000 international visitors anticipated
With five months to go until Rugby World Cup 2019 kicks off in Japan on 20 September, World Rugby has endorsed hosting progress, citing excellent ticket sales and record legacy outcomes as strong indicators of a very special and successful event.
Rugby World Cup 2019 is on track to be the most widely-viewed, most digitally-engaged and most socially and economically impactful rugby event ever. After compelling series of November and Six Nations test matches, World Rugby also believes that it will be the most-competitive, with several teams in the mix to claim the sport’s biggest prize.
Wrapping-up a busy and productive week of review meetings in Tokyo, World Rugby Chief Executive Officer Brett Gosper said: "With less than six months to go until Japan prepares to host Asia’s first Rugby World Cup, we are confident of a very special, successful and impactful Rugby World Cup that will break new ground on and off the field.
"From unprecedented ticketing demand to excellent venue and team camps and strong host city and government engagement, momentum and excitement is building rapidly, and preparations are generally ahead of schedule. We are confident that all the ingredients are in place to ensure one of the great Rugby World Cups.
"Our excitement is shared with fans. We are anticipating more than 400,000 international visitors, which will be a record for a Rugby World Cup with tickets sold from Russia in the north to Antarctica in the south. The atmosphere in venues, host cities and fanzones will be amazing. This will deliver a record-breaking ¥437.2 billion (£2.97 billion) nationwide boost to the economy.
"While we are in a good place, our message to our friends at the organising committee and host cities is that there is not a moment to lose. Momentum is key and no stone should be left unturned in pursuit of converting our mission to ensure a game-changing Rugby World Cup that has teams and fans at heart."
During three days of productive tournament review meetings, World Rugby cited key areas of confidence as the countdown to an extensive programme of testing and readiness exercises gathers momentum, including city engagement, tournament budget, major infrastructure and record ticket demand.
Rugby World Cup 2019 by the numbers
- £2.97 billion total nationwide economic impact in Japan
- 1 billion video views of Rugby World Cup 2019 online content anticipated
- 5 million ticket applications to date
- 1.8 million tickets in total
- £1.5 million pledged donations to Childfund Pass It Back from fans and commercial partners
- 1 million new ‘Asia 1 Million’ rugby participants
- 400,000 international visitors
- 25,000 disadvantaged children supported via the Childfund Pass It Back programme
- 13,000 ‘Team No-Side’ Volunteers
- 920 players and team management
- 200+ broadcast territories
- 48 matches
- 23 match officials
- 20 participating unions
- 12 match venues
- 6 Worldwide Partners
- 1 world champion
World Rugby Chief Operating Officer and Rugby World Cup Tournament Director Alan Gilpin added: "World Rugby awarded the hosting rights to Japan in 2009 knowing that it represented a game-changing opportunity for rugby to reach, engage and convert new fans and participants in the world’s most populous and youthful continent.
"Driven by a far-reaching Impact Beyond legacy programme, pre-tournament new participant targets have been smashed with well over one million new young players attracted to rugby across more than 20 Asian nations and plans now being implemented to retain them long after the final whistle has blown."
In Japan alone, more than 200,000 children have taken up the sport for the first time and World Rugby, the Japan Rugby Football Union and Asia Rugby are advanced in implementing retention structures, despite no formal youth club culture.
A moving illustration of legacy through rugby’s values has come in the form of the transformational partnership between Rugby World Cup and Childfund Pass It Back. Fans and commercial partners have pledged more than £1.5 million to the Pass It Back programme, transforming the lives of more than 25,000 youths from disadvantaged communities across Asia through rugby and life-skills programmes.
Japan Rugby 2019 Organising Committee Chief Executive Officer Akira Shimazu said: "With less than six months to go before Asia’s first Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan, preparations are well on track. All the major elements are in place and we are ready to host the world’s 20 best rugby nations and welcome rugby fans from across the world.
"The next opportunity to purchase tickets begins on 18 May when first-come-first-served sales resume. While we anticipate extremely high demand for the remaining tickets, I encourage fans here in Japan and those from abroad to access the ticketing site on 18 May to have the best chance to secure their desired tickets and join us here in Japan for this very special, once in a lifetime Rugby World Cup."
With Japan proving the place to be in September, October and November, fans are being advised to book tickets and accommodation now to avoid disappointment, and will have another opportunity to secure tickets during the second general ticket sales phase, which opens at 18:00 JST on Saturday, 18 May.
The tournament organisers also recently announced details of the Official Resale Service. Opening at 18:00 JST on Friday, 31 May, fans will be able to sell and purchase tickets on a safe and secure platform at face value. Tickets bought via unofficial channels could result in the recipient not being granted access to the match venue.
More details on the official ticketing programme, including the range of official travel and hospitality options can be accessed via www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets