Rugby fever is gripping Japan as final preparations for Asia’s first Rugby World Cup are being fine-tuned across the 12 host cities, match venues and team camps.
Today, organisers can confirm that 85 per cent of the 1.8 million tickets have now been sold, reaffirming confidence of a sell-out, while the next sales phase opens on 10 August.
And with Japan poised to host the world’s top teams and more than 400,000 international visitors, the latest independent research confirms awareness of the tournament within the country has significantly increased in recent months to over three-quarters of the population – a staggering 98.3 million people.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “With 50 days to go, we are confident and excited that Japan 2019 will be a very special success on every level – it will break records and make history on and off the field as Asia’s first Rugby World Cup.
“Records will be broken during the tournament from fan-zone attendance to broadcast and engagement, but significantly with 50 days to go, we can confidently say that Japan 2019 is already proving to be a transformational driver of sporting and social legacy in the host nation and across Asia.
“The hosting of this tournament has paved the way for 1.16 million people to experience the sport across Asia, 200,000 in Japan alone, through our dedicated Impact Beyond legacy programmes in partnership with the JRFU and Asia Rugby, it has provided an important and exciting step-change for rugby in the world’s most populous and youthful region.”
The 50 days to go celebrations were marked at a special trophy tour event in Tokyo Station – one of the world’s busiest commuter hubs through which up to 800,000 people pass every day – with the iconic Webb Ellis Cup the star attraction.
Rugby’s greatest trophy is travelling the length and breadth of the country, inspiring a whole new generation of rugby fans. Since its arrival, the Webb Ellis Cup has travelled 10,000 kilometres throughout Japan, engaging more than 100,000 people.
Beaumont added: “Japan 2019 will be a ground-breaking occasion for the global rugby family, but also a special moment for our Japanese hosts, who will show the world the best of Japan, its rich culture, famed hospitality and passion for rugby. Our advice to fans is not to miss out on what will be an incredible six-week celebration.”
Japan Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee CEO Akira Shimazu said: “With both Pacific Nations Cup matches sold out and with strong early ticket sales pointing to a likely sell out for the warm-up match against South Africa at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium on 6 September, Japanese rugby fans are getting behind the national team in record numbers in this Rugby World Cup year.
“With research suggesting that over three-quarters of the population are aware Rugby World Cup 2019 will take place in Japan, and with record ticket demand for matches in advance of the tournament, it’s clear that Rugby World Cup fever has taken hold throughout the country.”
Full press release (Rugby World Cup 2019)