Hugo MacNeill, Oversight Board Member, Ireland 2023, has revealed that bringing the Rugby World Cup to Ireland could generate €1.6bn ($1.9bn) of benefits for the local economy.

In an exclusive interview with TheStadiumBusiness.com on site at the recent Stadium Business Summit at Croke Park in Dublin, MacNeill revealed that the financial projections for the tournament in Ireland point towards a significant economic boost across the island.

Ireland is up against France and South Africa in the bidding contest for the 2023 tournament.

“We’ve been working on this with Deloitte for a number of years and the numbers have only increased,” MacNeill said.

“The numbers from England [for the 2015 Rugby World Cup] were very impressive.

“We estimate currently that a Rugby World Cup in Ireland would bring in €800m [in terms] of first-round economic impact, and once other things are taken into account, it goes up to €1.6bn.”

In a wide-ranging interview, MacNeill also spoke about Ireland’s desire to avoid building white elephants for the tournament, as well as his hopes that Paris will be awarded the right to host the 2024 summer Olympic Games.

It is MacNeill’s belief that if Paris wins the right to host the 2024 Games, Ireland’s tilt at the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be strengthened.

The International Olympic Committee is expected to confirm in September that Paris will host the Games in seven years’ time, with Los Angeles set to stage the 2028 Olympics.