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Home nations weigh up joint bid for 2031 Rugby World Cup

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Post by doctor_grey Tue 02 Feb 2021, 8:37 pm

From an article in the Guardian, the four home nations are considering a joint bid for 2013 RWC. There are clearly hurdles, but I think this is a great idea. I can't see any down side and it could do wonders for Rugby in UK/Ire. Could generate huge profits, exposure, and so on.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/feb/01/home-nations-weigh-up-joint-bid-for-2031-rugby-world-cup

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Post by Pot Hale Wed 03 Feb 2021, 3:49 am

From the Telegraph on same day the story was that English RFU was planning a bid on its own after some preliminary discussions with Wales and Scotland

Irish Times ran a report saying that the IRFU denied any current discussions were ongoing. There was a discussion last August/September but nothing being considered.

Sounds like a dead duck to me although English Union may go for it on their own.
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Post by Cyril Wed 03 Feb 2021, 7:55 am

It’s probably a bit too soon for England to host again. No reason why the other British Isles sides couldn’t table a joint bid though. I’m not a fan of joint hosting but it does mean nations that couldn’t manage it alone are given a chance.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 03 Feb 2021, 8:26 am

Cyril wrote:It’s probably a bit too soon for England to host again. No reason why the other British Isles sides couldn’t table a joint bid though. I’m not a fan of joint hosting but it does mean nations that couldn’t manage it alone are given a chance.

I'm not sure about that. The World Rugby gets 90%+ of its income from the RWC, and tends to alternate between giving the tournament to a smaller nation for development or sentimental reasons, or a larger one to make money. In practical terms, that means France or the UK, because the big TV money wants a time zone that draws in European viewers. Look at the sequence of hosting:

1987 - NZ/AUs
1991 - England
1995 - SA
1999 - Home nations

2003 - Aus
2007 - France
2011 - NZ
2015 - England
2019 - Japan
2023 - France
2027 - probably Australia (or Russia)
2031 - ?

Especially after COVID-19, World Rugby needs a boost to its coffers. The best way to get that is to come back to Europe, and given France is hosting the next one, that almost certainly means somewhere in the UK. They could take a punt on Russia, either this time or next time, but I am not sure they want the FIFA-style controversy that would entail, especially given Rugby's pro-LGBTQ, anti-discrimination stance.
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Post by westisbest Wed 03 Feb 2021, 10:49 am

Wasn’t there talks few years back about having a World Cup in the states(maybe a game or two in Canada)?

USA 94 was a decent World Cup. Brought soccer onto the map more for the Americans. More interest in rugby in America maybe if the held it.

Time wise, games would kick off here 6/7 0’clock onwards.

Maybe another option?

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Post by Pot Hale Wed 03 Feb 2021, 12:15 pm

Poorfour wrote:
Cyril wrote:It’s probably a bit too soon for England to host again. No reason why the other British Isles sides couldn’t table a joint bid though. I’m not a fan of joint hosting but it does mean nations that couldn’t manage it alone are given a chance.

I'm not sure about that. The World Rugby gets 90%+ of its income from the RWC, and tends to alternate between giving the tournament to a smaller nation for development or sentimental reasons, or a larger one to make money. In practical terms, that means France or the UK, because the big TV money wants a time zone that draws in European viewers. Look at the sequence of hosting:

1987 - NZ/AUs
1991 - England
1995 - SA
1999 - Home nations

2003 - Aus
2007 - France
2011 - NZ
2015 - England
2019 - Japan
2023 - France
2027 - probably Australia (or Russia)
2031 - ?

Especially after COVID-19, World Rugby needs a boost to its coffers. The best way to get that is to come back to Europe, and given France is hosting the next one, that almost certainly means somewhere in the UK. They could take a punt on Russia, either this time or next time, but I am not sure they want the FIFA-style controversy that would entail, especially given Rugby's pro-LGBTQ, anti-discrimination stance.

WR have said they are encouraging joint bids this time around to allow smaller unions to bid for hosting.

The likelihood of the 3 Celtic unions banding together to host one is unlikely given the differences that exist at PRO14 level and the outcome of the last RWC bid. Where would the semis/runners-up/final be held? Since Wales has hosted one before, and has had finals matches, should it be in Murrayfield or Lansdowne/Croke Park? Which union has the best mix of stadia for group and knockout stages and would there be an imbalance between allocation of matches as a result? Would a joint bid between Ireland and Scotland as new hosts be a better approach? Etc, etc.

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 03 Feb 2021, 12:47 pm

westisbest wrote:Wasn’t there talks few years back about having a World Cup in the states(maybe a game or two in Canada)?

USA 94 was a decent World Cup. Brought soccer onto the map more for the Americans. More interest in rugby in America maybe if the held it.

Time wise, games would kick off here 6/7 0’clock onwards.

Maybe another option?
The US was considering a bid, potentially including Canada. However, the management and administration of Rugby USA is a mess at the moment, including a bankruptcy filing. So they are focusing on becoming stable again for the near term. Not really able to look too far into the future. It's a shame because they could put on a terrific tournament. I wonder if that changes now because Joe Biden is a Rugby fan (though he might have a few bigger issues on his plate).

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Post by westisbest Wed 03 Feb 2021, 1:34 pm

Ok. Fair enough. I think a World Cup would be good in the US.

Massive crowds.

Or having more one off games or a couple of games in America, like Ireland v New Zealand.
Generate more interest in the states.

Then lead up to a World Cup.
Could be exciting.

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Post by Poorfour Wed 03 Feb 2021, 3:43 pm

The key "barrier to entry" is the bond that WR asks hosts to put up guaranteeing the income from the tournament - for England 2015 it was something like £150m, which worked out well for the RFU in the end because the tournament made £230m and they got to share some of the upside.

The US could deliver that sort of revenue - but equally it could fall flat. USA Rugby couldn't in its current state take the risk of underwriting that bond on its own, so it would need government or other support to do it.

The most likely model is that England acts as primary host but shares the QFs and SFs around some of the other home nations. In 2015 they cleverly put the France and Italy games in London and the Irish games in Cardiff to make it easier for fans to reach them - but in 2031 it might make more sense for those to be hosted by Ireland...
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Post by Cyril Wed 03 Feb 2021, 5:57 pm

The problem with the US hosting is that their national side is pretty terrible. When they are inevitably turfed our in the pool stages their fans will lose interest in droves. They don’t have the same mindset as Japanese fans, for example.

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 03 Feb 2021, 10:59 pm

Based on my highly unscientific but probably accurate survey, most Rugby fans in America are not really fans of USA Rugby. Instead favouring many of the other countries, starting with the ABs. Ireland also has a massive following. Of course, they all want to see the Eagles do well, but would not be put off when they lose. When the ABs played USA in Chicago it was a huge event, Soldier Field sold out. When the ABs played Ireland (that famous Ireland victory) it was an absolute monster event.

It's probably all moot because USA Rugby would need to find a partner to underwrite and take over the overall management and execution of an American RWC.

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Post by Poorfour Thu 04 Feb 2021, 1:59 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
It's probably all moot because USA Rugby would need to find a partner to underwrite and take over the overall management and execution of an American RWC.

That's the thing - which I think makes it more likely that when they do it (and it is when rather than "if"), it will be on one of the "investment and sentimentality" years rather than the "make a boatload of cash" years.
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Post by doctor_grey Fri 05 Feb 2021, 2:08 pm

Poorfour wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
It's probably all moot because USA Rugby would need to find a partner to underwrite and take over the overall management and execution of an American RWC.

That's the thing - which I think makes it more likely that when they do it (and it is when rather than "if"), it will be on one of the "investment and sentimentality" years rather than the "make a boatload of cash" years.
I agree, that would probably be the reason. There are so many expats and Rugby fans over here who would die to see it brought here.

But it would make boatloads of cash. With the American genius for advertising, merchandising, and frankly, hype, it would draw huge local crowds in addition to the people travelling to the event. Americans would be fascinated by a sporting event that attracts so many people from around the world, especially mostly the English speaking world. Plus every stadium with 60000 plus filled to capacity. Would be a non-stop party.....

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