Next month’s six week tournament, which will see 48 matches played in 12 match venues across England and in the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, is on track to be the biggest Rugby World Cup to date with a total of 2.45 million tickets and over 400,000 international visitors expected to be welcomed by a nation of proud hosts.
With 2.2 million sales to date, over 90 per cent of tickets have now been sold but fans still have the opportunity to be part of the tournament with limited tickets still on sale at tickets.rugbyworldcup.com, including England v Fiji, England v Uruguay and matches featuring New Zealand, Australia, Wales, Ireland and France. Official Supporter Travel packages are also still available.
Host cities get RWC 2015 makeover
The Coca-Cola London Eye, in the host nation's capital, will become a visual landmark for the tournament with the capsules wrapped in the 20 competing nations’ flags for the duration of Rugby World Cup 2015. In addition, the interior of the capsules will showcase images from rugby fans across the world, captured through the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour and through the #CelebratingRugby digital campaign. At night the London Eye will be lit up in the colours of the tournament giving fans the chance to capture images and create their own memories of Rugby World Cup 2015.
In addition to activity in the capital, all host cities are celebrating the tournament in their own unique way. Newcastle upon Tyne marked the tournament year by installing the logo for Rugby World Cup 2015 on the Tyne Bridge and last week in Leicester a Rugby World Cup 2015 ball was sent into space at the National Space Centre. Leeds is organising a mass participation show on 25 September in the city centre, culminating in the creation of a structure to celebrate Rugby World Cup 2015 and plans are underway in Milton Keynes for two world-class drumming and pyrotechnic companies, Danbor Talka, to take over the city on 2-3 October. Further details on all the city activations will be released in the coming weeks.
Enhanced Spectator Experience
The match day experience for ticket holders begins weeks in advance of the tournament, with receipt of their Rugby World Cup 2015 tickets. Through augmented reality technology via the Blippar app, fans can scan their tickets and get a view from their block, exclusive pre-match information, and content to help them plan their match day including interactive venue maps and Fanzone guides.
All 13 match venues will be dressed in the vibrant official tournament look and feel, celebrating Rugby World Cup 2015. The stadium dressing programme includes the stadium exterior, bars and concourses as well as the inner bowl making every venue recognisable as part of Rugby World Cup 2015. In addition to the 15 official Fanzones, spectator plazas will also be introduced in or near to venues in Leeds (Centenary Pavilion), Birmingham (The Academy), Milton Keynes (Arena MK), Manchester City Stadium (City Square) and Twickenham Stadium. Twickenham Stadium will see an increase to the security perimeter, creating a new spectator plaza complete with big screen, entertainment and a new two tier fan bar, elements of which were tested at England's international against France last weekend.
Before reaching the match venue, fans will be welcomed at the transport hub or point of arrival by members of The Pack, the 6,000 Rugby World Cup 2015 volunteers, and guided to the stadium via the spectator walking route which will include city dressing, wayfinding, 3D street art, live performance and helpful matchday information. Many Rugby World Cup 2015 Fanzones around the country will host a live screening of the final, including Exeter, Richmond, Newham, Rugby and central London. There will also be live screenings of the final at other locations, including pubs and bars, around the country.
Also announced on 18 August was the Sport Presentation Programme for Rugby World Cup 2015 which aims to create a unique Rugby World Cup experience that engages spectators and educates new rugby fans. Sport presentation at every match venue will include a presenter and rugby pundit delivering a pitch-side pre-match, half-time and full-time show, music, graphic and VT production, a staged team entrance including specially commissioned music and anthems delivered in venue by choirs, plus a new in-ear commentary service. The in-ear commentary will be a first for Rugby World Cup, delivering a descriptive and explanatory run down of the match aiming to help explain the game to both new and existing fans. The service will also include some foreign language commentary for international fans, in addition to carrying the referee feed. These will be on sale in all venues priced at £10.
In advance of the tournament, England Rugby 2015 has today released the first of the 'School of Rugby' videos, part of a series of educational films that aim to help fans new to rugby understand the more complex elements of the game. These short videos include the 'Kicking Game', 'Breakdown', 'Lineout', 'Tournament Format' and 'Jargon Busters' among others and will be issued to fans through official Rugby World Cup 2015 channels in advance of the tournament and form a key part of the pre-match show on the big screen in venue.
Trophy Tour rolls on
The Webb Ellis Cup will visit all match venues as part of a tournament-time Trophy Tour. The 100-day Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour of the UK and Ireland is now on day 69 and over 100,000 fans have seen the trophy and been part of the tour. This follows a first-ever, 15-nation, International Trophy Tour that saw the Webb Ellis Cup visit some of the world's most iconic destinations.
With planning on track and a full testing and readiness programme underway across a number of venues as part of the warm ups for Rugby World Cup 2015, plans are progressing for the Opening Ceremony at Twickenham Stadium on 18 September ahead of England v Fiji. England Rugby 2015 today confirmed that the opening ceremony theme 'breaking new ground' will tell the story of rugby's birth in England and celebrate its journey to Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and Cardiff.
England Rugby 2015 Managing Director Stephen Brown said: "With one month to go until Rugby World Cup 2015 starts there is still time for fans to be part of it. Remaining tickets are on sale now with some great matches available. We hope that fans will enjoy the matchday experience on offer at all 13 venues which keeps rugby at heart and is a true celebration of the tournament. There is an opportunity for people right across the country to join in and be part of this very special six weeks of rugby and we are delighted to see excitement building in each city on the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour. All our planning is on track and our recent testing opportunities continue to provide us with invaluable learnings and insight. We look forward to delivering what we hope will be a fantastic tournament in a month's time.”
With the world's best teams honing final preparations for the tournament, excitement continues to build around the world. Official Supporter Tour package sales are tracking at 50 per cent more than New Zealand 2011 and level with the final total of 185,000 for France 2007, meaning that England 2015 is on track to deliver the biggest-ever travel programme for a rugby event. Official hospitality is also proving popular with sales double those achieved in New Zealand.
Rugby at heart
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: "England 2015 has the teams and fans at heart and we are excited about the innovations that are being delivered to enhance their Rugby World Cup experience. The tournament will feature the most advanced player welfare and medical standards ever seen at a rugby event with the use of video review technology assisting medics in identifying and assessing injuries, while World Rugby has invested £50 million in assisting tier two teams with high performance, technical and competition support to ensure that they are in the best-possible shape to perform to their capability on rugby's biggest stage.
"With one month to go, England 2015 is set to be a truly special, remarkable and record-breaking celebration of rugby and the exceptional ticket sales to date reflect the enormous public desire to be a part of the sporting highlight of the year. I have no doubt that it will reach and inspire new audiences across more nations, cities and communities in a way no previous Rugby World Cup has done.”
RFU Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said: "As the tournament draws nearer, the anticipation and interest is clearly building for what we hope will be the most memorable Rugby World Cup ever staged. We are determined to deliver for the game as we enter the most exciting period in the history of rugby in England. We have a chance to leave a lasting legacy across the country, and are totally focussed on achieving that aim for the good of generations to come.”