The 2015 Rugby World Cup is set to eclipse even the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2012 Olympics in terms of its cost to fans.
It has been reported that the average cost of a Rugby World Cup ticket in 2015 is £104 compared to £94.40 at last year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and £87.48 at the 2012 Olympics held in London.
Whilst there were a number of tickets in lower price brackets, more than half of the tickets sold will cost £100 or more during World Rugby’s showpiece event. It is therefore no wonder that when looking at the World Cup ticketing site that there are still significant numbers of tickets available with just a couple of days until the tournament kicks off.
Rugby fans have been hit even harder on the second hand markets with some tickets being listed at $50,000 for the final in one extreme example. More recently, tickets for England’s opener against Fiji have been listed for £826 on one unofficial website.
The pricing of the tournament has led to widespread criticism from fans who accused the tournament organisers of promoting profit over expanding the reach of the game. Many fans have instead opted to refrain from attending games, instead choosing to remain at home and watch matches on TV.
This has led to concerns that the atmosphere at key games may be somewhat muted, with large sections of seating being bought up by corporate sponsors rather than genuine fans. There have also be criticisms of the locations of games with the North West of England hosting just a solitary game during the entire six week tournament.
Whilst the financial figures for the tournament are looking increasingly positive, especially given the losses incurred during the 2011 tournament in New Zealand, there are legitimate worries over whether the tournament’s organiser are more interested in filling the coffers rather than expanding the reach of the game.