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6. Bids Are Expensive

The out-of-pocket fees to bid for the 2023 RWC cost $2 million per nation. The two losing bidders - South Africa and Ireland - wasted that sum forever; a financial risk that each country knew at the start it would cost to pitch.

Assume USA Rugby generated a surplus of $2 million in the near future, what other domestic American rugby projects or initiatives could benefit more usefully from that sum?  Why throw away vital development monies imprudently on a pie-in-the sky RWC bid?

7. USA Rugby Is Cash Poor

The national organization is in weak financial shape, striving to maintain revenues to fund the annual budget. The defunct PRO Rugby filed a lawsuit claiming contract violations. What if the court finds for PRO Rugby? Where will the monies come to pay damages?

In addition, USA rugby lost a hefty sum in the ill-advised investment in RIM, where the substantially greater loss came from a consortium of British-based rugby investors.

This week comes the shocking news that the recent World Cup Sevens in San Francisco will not return $4 million in profit as originally assumed. Worse, is the story that the tournament lost monies and needed to ask World Rugby for a loan.

Does this bleak, on going financial picture support an expensive and risky effort to bid for the 2027 World Cup?

8. Incur Ill Will from Other Bidding Unions

How pleased will other 2027 RWC bidders react to a submission from upstart USA Rugby, a Tier 2 nation that features a low number of rugby clubs, participants, and fans?

The last 2023 RWC bid process witnessed South Africa first chosen and then, in a second vote, France secured the hosting rights. This fostered a modicum of mistrust against the RWC selection process, and subsequently, dissatisfaction with World Rugby.

World Rugby has already advocated that USA Rugby make a "magnificent bid" for the 2027 RWC. It is doubtful that the organization's full membership would react with the same illogical enthusiasm to award USA the hosting rights.

9. A Bad Tournament Means a Bad Outcome for Rugby Globally

The bulk of World Rugby's operating revenues is generated from these quadrennial World Cups. The greater the financial success of a tournament, the more monies the parent organization has to fund international growth and development.

The three RWC revenue segments are Gate, Broadcast, and Sponsorship. Again, the assumption is that USA RWC attendance would underperform except for Eagle's and All Blacks' games. It is unlikely that other matches would generate high turnout. Half filled stadiums make for poor television and adverse commentary.

Stadium attendance data for the past four RWCs from notable rugby playing nations follows:

Year     Host                Average           Stadium Capacity

2003    Australia         38,300             83%

2007    France              43,200             92%

2011    New Zealand   30,800            85%

2015    England           56,600             95%

If past USA Test attendance data held true for the 2027 RWC, and that barely 20,000 people might attend on average, the outcome would create a significant shortfall of gate receipts. The result would mean markedly lower income passed back to World Rugby. Rugby internationally would suffer for lack of investment funds and the correct blame for this deficit would rest squarely on USA Rugby and it's poorly attended 2027 RWC.

10. Conclusion: USA Rugby Not Ready for Cup Hosting

The prime reason that fosters well-intentioned foreign eagerness to capitalize commercially on USA rugby futures stems from the data of billions of US sports dollars spent annually. Television revenue. Pro and college attendance. Sponsorship funding. Merchandise sales.

Hey, there's gold in them there American rugby hills!

Well, there isn't...at least not in the short-term future. Too many people are looking at dubious research findings that suggest rugby will rise from obscurity to compete with other American sports. They point to the "1.2 million who played in 2017," and another, odd poll that reported there are thirty million American rugby "fans".  (A fan was defined as someone with "interest," hardly a potent yardtsick for a person probably who never paid money to see a rugby event.)

Where were these supposed thirty millions of fans when international Test matches were played in many cities throughout the country? The past decade marked 20,000 attendees or below of gate figures for all Men's Eagle home games against Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Canada. Australia, NZ Maori, Brazil, Uruguay, Fiji, Samoa, Wales, Russia, Georgia, Tonga, and Japan.

Only the two All Black games in Chicago witnessed 62,000 at Soldier Field in matches against the USA and Ireland.

There exists an empirical record in the USA of low to midland interest for rugby fifteens internationals even when the National XV competes. 

In sum: For USA Rugby to bid for the 2027 RWC would be a waste of time, a waste of money it doesn't have, and stand a poor chance of winning World Rugby member votes.

 

 

Comments

From wikipedia." In 1994, USA was awarded the soccer world cup Despite the host nation's lack of football tradition, the tournament was the most financially successful in World Cup history; aided by the high-capacity stadia in the United States, it broke the World Cup average attendance record with nearly 69,000 spectators per game, a mark that still stands." Is rugby in America today better off than soccer in 1994? Would matches in LA, San Fran, Denver, Seattle, NY, Boston, DC, Chicago and Houston not draw in fans from other nations?
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