World Rugby have hailed Japan 2019 as the most economically successful Rugby World Cup ever, with nearly £4.3billion generated in economic output according to The Economic Impact of Rugby World Cup 2019 report published by EY.


The report, launched during a webinar event, outlined how World Cup 2019 added £2.3billion to Japan’s GDP. It attracted 242,000 international fans from 178 nations, who stayed an average of 17 days, visiting five cities on average.

More than 60 per cent of fans were visiting the country for the first time, while their daily spend was 4.6 times higher than that spent by the average visitor to Japan in 2018.

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Aside from a record economic impact footprint that reached from Sapporo in the north to Kumamoto in the south, the tournament also created or sustained 46,000 jobs and 13,000 volunteer roles, many of whom will be supporting Tokyo 2020.

The host’s ticketing strategy also proved successful with a total of 1.83million tickets sold. The 99 per cent attendance versus capacity rate across the 45 matches, which culminated in the South Africa vs England final after the All Blacks were dethroned in the semi-finals, is the most successful in Rugby World Cup history and among the most successful major sports events of all time.

It was the biggest single-sport event ever held in Japan. In addition, a record 1.13m fans attended one or more of the 16 official fan zones despite two typhoons during the event. World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “The outcomes of this comprehensive EY report reaffirm Japan 2019’s status as one of the great Rugby World Cups on and off the field. It is also good news for France 2023 and interested nations and unions wishing to host in the future.


“It reflects Rugby World Cup’s status as one of the best-loved and most prestigious major sports events to host while highlighting the significant social and economic benefits that make the tournament such an attractive low-risk, high-return on investment hosting proposition for governments and unions alike.”

The Economic Impact of Rugby World Cup 2019 report (click here)

  • Asia and Japan’s first Rugby World Cup;
  • An unprecedented 44-day global shop window for Japan and rugby;
  • Record nationwide economic impact beyond Tokyo;
  • 242,000 international visitors staying average of 17 days v 14 days for RWC 2015;
  • 60 per cent of fans visiting Japan for the first time;
  • 90 per cent of fans said they would return to Japan;
  • 80 per cent of fans said they had an exceptional experience;
  • £4.3billion total economic impact/£2.3 billion GDP increase;
  • £2.3b spent in Japan by international visitors;
  • £286 average spend per international visitor per night, almost double England 2015 (£4,574 total average v £2,400);
  • RWC 2019 visiting fans spent 4.6 times more than the average visitor to Japan in 2018; 46,340 jobs created or supported for the tournament;
  • RWC 2019 visitors stayed 17 days, compared to 14 days average at RWC 2015;
  • £2million pledged for the Childfund Pass It Back programme, a partnership between Childfund, World Rugby, Asia Rugby and the JRFU;
  • 2.25m people introduced to rugby in Asia via the Impact Beyond programme (769,000 children involved in tag rugby in elementary schools in Japan);
  • Significant infrastructure legacy for rugby and community sport, including the Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium.

Nielsen Sports DNA report (click here)
Conducted immediately after the tournament, this report also demonstrated the significant pride and happiness benefits of hosting to the Japanese people:

  • 78 per cent of the general public thought that Rugby World Cup hosting in a so-called “non-traditional” rugby market was positive for the future of the sport;
  • 46 per cent of the general public thought Rugby World Cup was the most exciting sporting event of 2019 (70 per cent in Japan), compared to 25 per cent who disagreed, demonstrating the value of hosting to international marketing and national pride;
  • The level of Rugby World Cup interest almost doubled from 26 per cent in 2018 to 44 per cent in 2019, representing more than 50million people;
  • Nine out of 10 people in Japan believed that Rugby World Cup hosting captured the imagination, boosting national pride, excitement and engagement;
  • Nine out of 10 people in Japan got behind the national team on their run to the quarter-finals, reflecting a 33 per cent increase in ‘niwaka fans’ or new fans during the tournament;
  • 83 per cent of people in Japan believe that hosting Rugby World Cup generated a positive legacy for rugby, delivering future major rugby event hosting opportunities for Japan;
  • 50 per cent of those in Japan who followed Rugby World Cup had become interested in the sport in the last year, highlighting the significant legacy opportunity for host nations;
  • 54 per cent of those in Japan who followed the tournament were doing so for the first time;
  • 74 per cent of Japanese who were aware of Rugby World Cup believe that the tournament will encourage more children to play the sport.

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