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Rugby World Cup delivered €871m net input for France

Featured image credit: Rugby World Cup

France’s staging of the 2023 Rugby World Cup generated €1.8bn (£1.53bn/$1.95bn) of spend and a net input for the host country of €871m, according to the findings of a new report.

The impact study commissioned by the French Ministry of Sport and produced by professional services firm EY assesses the three main type of impacts – economic, social, environmental – with comparable methodology to other major international sporting events.

Headline figures include that estimated public funding (€70m) for security, stadiums and fanzones was more than covered by tax revenue generated by the event (€84m). There was said to be 425,000 international visitors (72% from Europe) staying 10 days on average in France and spending €170 a day. Some 39% of the total tourist spend benefitted local communities outside of the host cities showcasing France 2023’s nationwide positive impact.

France 2023 utilised 10 host cities and nine match venues. Overall, the net input into the French economy is estimated at €871m, €690m of which being attributed to direct economic impact.

This net economic impact excludes all French fans’ spend and French companies’ investments in the tournament. Once taken into account and integrated back in the methodology, Rugby World Cup 2023’s total spend reaches €1.8bn.

Using the methodology provided by the French Ministry of Sports and data from the Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME), the total event’s carbon footprint has been estimated at 830,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

The report states the use of existing facilities and infrastructures for all tournament operations was a key decision that helped keep emissions to the lowest possible early in the planning phase. The tournament did not require any new builds and all tournament venues from stadiums to team base camps were repurposed for the event, including the international broadcast and media centres at Roland Garros in Paris.

Commenting on the report, France 2023 chairman Jacques Rivoal said: “Our ambition since the beginning of our Rugby World Cup journey has been to leave a positive impact for France and rugby communities, while organising a responsible tournament that set new standards for the future.

“The impact report brings tangible proof that we have fulfilled our vision with great outcomes for all tournament stakeholders, including strong economic benefits for France and its cities, as well as a fantastic social and rugby legacy.

“Rugby World Cup 2023 was a record-breaker in many aspects with unprecedented attendance, viewership, and engagement and we are extremely proud to have organised this amazing celebration of togetherness while taking significant measures to limit and mitigate the tournament’s environmental footprint.”

French Minister for Sport, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castera, added: “Rugby World Cup 2023 has brought a great deal to our country, from the popular enthusiasm felt throughout the country to the promotion of sport and the rugby values, it showcased our heritage and our way of life, raising France’s profile in the world and demonstrating its organisational expertise.

“The EY study also establishes the very positive economic and social impact of the event. Finally, it shows the importance of the efforts made on the environmental front. More than ever, as the Paris 2024 (Olympic) Games approach, France is confirming its ambition to provide Europe and the world with a new model for these major international events, in a spirit of economic, social and environmental responsibility, which is the key to their long-term sustainability.”

In October, World Rugby announced that the men’s RWC will expand to 24 teams for Australia’s staging of the 2027 tournament, as part of substantial reform of the global men’s and women’s calendars dubbed a “seminal moment” for the sport.

World Rugby made the announcement as last year’s RWC drew to a close in France. The governing body said expansion of the men’s event from 20 to 24 teams in 2027 will offer more qualification opportunities for more teams and regional competitions.

In May 2022, Australia and the USA were awarded hosting rights to the 2027 and 2031 editions of the men’s RWC, respectively, with the two countries also set to host future women’s tournaments.

World Rugby confirmed the host countries for the five editions of its World Cup from 2025 onwards. England will host the women’s tournament in 2025, before the event heads to Australia in 2029 and the US in 2033.