Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bringing the Rugby World Cup to a New Continent

The Rugby World Cup is the third biggest sporting event in the world after the Olympic Games and the Soccer World Cup. It is the showcase of the sport of rugby and every four years the tournament takes place. It is increasingly proving to be a bigger and increasingly globalized event with each Rugby World Cup attracting more viewing numbers than the previous tournament. 

France 2007 had a cumulative world television audience of 4.2 billion for the 48 matches. In contrast Australia 2003 had a cumulative world television audience of 3.5 billion, also for 48 matches. Additional countries continue to play Rugby World Cup qualification matches with Armenia, Greece, India, Mexico and Paklistan all involved in qualification matches for New Zealand 2011 for the first time in their history. 

This has coincided with teams previously considered not capable of winning a Rugby World Cup tournament now being potential contenders. Argentina, for example, went from no wins at Rugby World Cup 1995 to finishing third in 2007. Similarly, Fiji went from failing to qualify for Rugby World Cup 1995 to being Quarter Finalists in 2007.

Despite significant progress, every Rugby World Cup tournament to have taken place since its inception has been hosted by a traditional power belonging to the old Five Nations or Tri Nations. Before Japan becomes, in 2019, the first country outside this sphere to host a Rugby World Cup all of these nations except South Africa will have hosted matches in at least two Rugby World Cup´s. Of the eight Rugby World Cup´s to have taken place from 1987-2015 Europe will have hosted four, Oceania three and Africa one. Japan 2019 will be the first time Asia has ever hosted and this will mean only the Americas will never have hosted.

In contrast by 2015 the Americas will have hosted eight Soccer World Cup´s, second only to Europe. South America will have hosted five Soccer World Cups in four countries - Uruguay 1930, Brazil 1950, Chile 1962, Argentina 1978 and 2014 Brazil. North America will have hosted three with Mexico hosting in 1970 and 1986 and the USA hosting in 1994. 

With such a decorated history of hosting Soccer World Cup´s the region of the Americas is clearly in line to host a Rugby World Cup at the next possible time. The combination of other factors such as camaraderie, contibution to global rugby, the future of rugby, pride, stadiums, time zones and tradition all combine to make Argentina 2023 more than compelling. The message of the world in union further supports Rugby World Cup 2023 being hosted by Argentina.

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