Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Los Pumas: Catamarca friendly recorded a return of AR$1million

Photo UAR
The potential candidacy of Argentina as the host nation of Rugby World Cup 2023 has been boosted following the announcement that the recent Rugby Championship warm-up fixture in Catamarca turned over a profit of over 1 million Argentine pesos. It further underlines what is on offer by ending the policy of Six Nations members hosting the Rugby World Cup every eight years.  In 2015 Wales will host Rugby World Cup matches for a fourth time and England for a third. Argentina has never hosted a match but is demonstrating the ability of taking matches nationwide - an important piece of hosting a World Cup.  


The president of the Unión de Rugby de Catamarca (URCA), Luis Salado has come out in great voice following his union hosting Argentina v Grenoble. In his own words the match ''changed the history of the sport in this province''. He described it as being ''absolutely positive, the visit, of Los Pumas to Catamarca, our rugby capitalized on the event that was a true luxury which enabled us to grow in many aspects and will allow us to grow even further, attract new sponsors and new players.'' 

Rugby authorities in Catamarca thought it was their opportunity to showcase their city and province to the rest of the country and they were extremely grateful to not only the union but also the coaches and players. ''of note was the solidarity of the players and staff who were always gracious to take photos and sign autographs at hotels, on the street and in schools that the team visited. The kids were really taken by this''. 

Catamarca has been unable to receive Pumas matches in the past due to location, population and stadium status of the city. Policies of the past, though, has given way as the UAR has firmly set its sights on expansion as the national team is constantly playing rugby matches in different locations. The results is that nationwide people are getting a chance to see Los Pumas. 

The choice of Catamarca was made as one of a number of possibilities. Located in north-western Argentina Catarmarca had been unable to secure Pumas matches due to neighboring provinces including Córdoba, Salta and Tucumán all having larger cities, stadiums and more notable rugby histories.

On the day of the match a crowd of 11,459 people were in attendance at the Estadio Bicentenario. Collectively they paid a total of AR$1,116,930 which meant that the friendly fixture against Grenoble was a commercial success. For the stadium, union, city and province it means a return of Los Pumas is very much likely but in the form of a test match. For the UAR and the Rugby World Cup it means finding host venues is not going to be any trouble whatsoever. 

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