For the first time ever, World Rugby has awarded hosting of the 2031 Men's Rugby World Cup and the 2033 Women's Rugby World Cup to the United States, This is huge win for the future host nation, as the U.S. hopes that a successful World Cup will build on the the success of Major League Rugby -- the recently formed professional rugby league -- to establish the U.S. as a legitimate rugby nation, similar to the way that hosting the World Cup in 1994 put U.S. soccer on the map.
Sports can be ruthless as a business, and rugby is no expection. A deep analysis of dollars and cents was part of the discussions and negotations that led up to the final announcement.
USA Rugby World Cup bid chair Jim Brown revealed that staging the two events would run an estimated US$500 million. However, even with these costs, having secured hosting rights for the first time, USA Rugby is confident of posting a profit of about $1 billion for the 2031 and 2033 tournaments. In any case, costs, profits, and any potential losses would be shared beween USA Rugby and World Rugby.
“We want to make these a mega event, we want to make them the biggest and best Rugby World Cups ever. Hopefully that comes with the right windfall. Not just for us and World Rugby, but for the global rugby family in lots of ways”, said Ross Young, chief executive of USA Rugby.
Japan 2019 was hailed as the ‘the most economically successful’ Rugby World Cup in history, according to a study conducted by Ernst Young (EY) on behalf of World Rugby. The tournament generated $5.2 billion in economic output and added $2.8 billion to the GDP of Japan.
World Rugby’s decision to hand the US back-to-back World Cups means it will be the first time a men’s Rugby World Cup has been held in North or South America. Multiple cities, including Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC, have expressed interest in hosting matches in either or both 2031 and 2033. Young said that a decision on destinations will likely be made after the 2027 and 2029 Rugby World Cups, which are being held in Australia.
Young added that he wants to keep the selection process “competitive” and that he had been “blown away” by the level of interest.
USA Rugby has also projected that 4.1 million fans could attend both the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups in the US. According to the national governing body, recent Rugby World Cups have attracted more than 242,000 international fans to host countries and seen more than 1.7 million spectators flock to stadiums.