The Queen Hosts Reception To Mark The Rugby World Cup 2015
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 12: The Webb Ellis trophy on display during a Rugby World Cup reception at Buckingham Palace on October 12, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Anthony Devlin - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

While it may seem an eternity ago, the financial results from the Rugby World Cup 2015 are in–and the news is good for World Rugby. Record earnings will ensure that the RWC2015 Profit and Loss Report will see more reinvestment back into the game.

The figures were released by World Rugby Chief Financial Officer Robert Brophy from the last fiscal year of the 2013-2016 four year cycle. Those 12 months included the Rugby World Cup (RWC2015) which proved to be the biggest tournament yet.

“World Rugby was delighted with the financial outcome from Rugby World Cup 2015 in every respect and this has allowed for us to increase our investment in all aspects of our sport.”

Brophy was speaking as World Rugby look forward to the next four-year business cycle, and to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan in particular.

World Rugby RWC2015 Profit and Loss Report

The results showed a profit for the year of €224m. Due to some better than forecast growth in revenues. These reflect improved broadcast and sponsorship markets for RWC2015, and a higher tournament fee from the host RFU.

All those contributing factors will be reflected by reinvestment back into the game. Over the last cycle, that figure was €237.4m–over the next four years, a budgeted €290m will be put into the game.

A reinforcement of the success of the RWC model, but also a combination of increasing participation that topped 7.73 million; almost double the figure at the start of the cycle. The numbers are up over all established, and developing nations.

Rugby’s Wide Reach

From China to Chicago, the wide reach saw increased viewers of the RWC2015 and Rio Olympic Games sevens. More viewers reflects commercial, broadcast and participation growth in rugby worldwide, particularly in major and emerging rugby markets.

To download the full World Rugby financial statement, click here.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont told worldrugby.org that “Rugby continues to experience record global participation growth and these record financial results will underpin our game-wide investment program. [Our record] was a proven catalyst for year on year participation increases, and will ensure that we can build a strong and sustainable global game in partnership with our unions and regional associations.”

And it is the regions who will benefit most. Tier One nations have mostly been self sufficient, with Tier Two nations the focus of funding models. That has seen Georgia become a more powerful rugby side, and the opportunities in Asia cannot be ignored.

Of all the riches forecast, the one promise that Brophy and Beaumont must keep, is that ‘all the funds’ will be made available to those regions who need, and can use the funds best.

Money Must Be Used Wisely

The only question that Last Word On Rugby would have for the RWC2015 Profit and Loss report would be the cost effective use of funds. In all the celebrations of the Cup final; and the cork popping that must have occurred when the report was released at World Rugby HQ, the money must be used wisely.

Whereas FIFA has a reputation for ‘living off the fat’ of the game, with the lavish toppings and VIP trimmings, Rugby must still be sure as much money is directed to the grassroots. If much of it is wasted on self-promotion, expensive junkets for staff and consultants, then less will fall down to the people who need it most. Less to pay for equipment and too much spent on marketing and self hype.

Lessons can be learned off sporting organisations such as the Winter Olympics. The bureaucracy and self-satisfaction has [by reports] it’s staff. That must be completely prohibited. Any sense of mis-management of funds must be found, and removed. The sanctity of the body is on view for the public to see, so Bill Beaumont and all the representatives of World Rugby must endeavor to ensure all funds go directly to the intended beneficiaries.

Young Indian slum-dwellers participate in a rugby training session at The Maidan in Kolkata. (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Rugby Fan Base Growing

From the lead-up to the tournament in the United Kingdom, the goal was to ‘Grow the Game’. With support from all major rugby nations, stakeholders, sponsors and even the Royal Family (see main photo) the aim was clear. Broaden the reach of the sport, and World Rugby have financed that.

“The sport is in great shape,” Australian administrator Brett Gosper added. “We’ve now got something close to eight million players worldwide, 30% of whom are women,” said Gosper. “The fan base is also up to around 300 million.”

With clear evidence, the RWC2015 Profit and Loss report is just the tonic that the game needed. Aside from the action on the field, money still ‘makes the world go around’. With good investment, the bank statement for the next four year cycle 2016-2019 looks positive. And that is the best position on the field to be in.

“Main photo credit”

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