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World Rugby boss Gosper expects large economic boost at Japan World Cup

The ninth edition of rugby’s global showpiece will be hosted on Asian soil for the first time and Brett Gosper says the interest in the game in Japan has been exceptional.

The Springboks versus Japan in their opening match at the 2015 Rugby World Cup on 19 September, 2015. Picture: Twitter @rugbyworldcup.

JOHANNESBURG - World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper says he expects a £2 billion pound economic activity at this year's Rugby World Cup that will be hosted In Japan in September.

The ninth edition of rugby’s global showpiece will be hosted on Asian soil for the first time and Gosper says the interest in the game in Japan has had an exponential growth in recent times.

“Japan is hugely important for us. We set out to achieve 1 million new participants by the time the World Cup starts in Japan but we have already achieved that two months ago so there has been a real boom in the number of people signing up for the sport in the country.”

Gosper also revealed that they have already eclipsed the commercial revenue targets they achieved at the previous World Cup that was hosted in England four years ago and expects the biggest World Cup in terms of economic value in history.

“We expected this World Cup to be a lot lower in commercial revenue, but we are seeing more commercial revenue than we saw in England four years ago, so it has already been a success on that front. We are looking at the biggest World Cup in terms of economic activity, there will be £2 billion pounds of economic activity created in Japan at the time of the World Cup, so there is a success on every front.”

There were also fears that the Rugby World Cup could be overshadowed by the Olympic Games being hosted in Tokyo in 2020 but Gosper has put those fears to bed, confirming that there is major interest in the event and the local organising committee has been able to market it successfully.

“I think on balance, it is good to be in and around the Olympics, we were worried in the beginning that we would be eclipsed a bit by the Olympics in terms of if the tournament would be marketable and the local audience feeling any excitement. But we have managed pretty well, and I think we have something like five million ticketing demands for 1.5 million tickets, so the Olympics haven’t eclipsed us at all from a marketing point of view and the country really is excited.”

The 2019 Rugby World Cup will run from 20 September with the final taking place on 2 November.

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