The fifteenth version of Rugby League World Cup will be held in Australia, New Zealand & Papua New Guinea. This tournament prides itself in being the largest platform for top Rugby League players from across the globe. The 2017 Rugby League World Cup will see 14 teams play 28 games over five weeks – all hoping to be crowned world champions. We interviewed Mr. Michael Brown, the CEO of this prestigious tournament about the developments related to this tournament, the legacy it is going to create and about their public participation program. An excerpt of the same is published below:
Legacy of the World Cup…
This will be the best Rugby League World Cup ever held. We want more fans to come to games and to watch on TV around the world than ever before.
We will reach out to fans new to the game and those rusted on to give them the opportunity to follow their country and bring their national pride, passion and excitement to matches across the tournament.
That will be the true legacy of the tournament – bringing new people to the game who will become lifelong fans and help make the game stronger across the globe.
Focus towards this sport at the three host nations…
Like any major international event, the eyes of the world will be fixed on the three host countries when the Rugby League World Cup is played. There will also be a heightened awareness about the game in the host countries.
We are working with the rugby league associations in Australia, New Zealand and PNG to ensure they are well placed to benefit from the increased attention and excitement in the game to grow interest and participation for years to come.
Popularity of the tournament…
Rugby League has never been stronger in Australia, New Zealand and PNG. It is the most popular show on TV in Australia with four of the top five rating shows on TV in the country being rugby league matches. In PNG it is the national sport with some of the most passionate fans in the world attending matches and watching on TV every week.
It continues to grow in New Zealand as well particularly when you look at the success of the Auckland Nines recently and the fact the Kiwis are the number one team in the world.
On the global stage, there will be more than 20 million people watching the Rugby League World Cup in more than 110 broadcast markets. It is a growing global sport and our responsibility is to make sure is continues to grow well after the tournament is played.
Public Participation Program…
To put on a great event, you need to have in place strong partnerships with governments, the sport, the community, media and the fans.
We will be working with governments and the rugby league community in all three countries to encourage people to following their national team, to showcase our great stadia and event experience we have, the passion we have for the game and how welcoming and warm all three countries are to the world.
We will have a ticketing strategy in place that makes it attractive for local families to go to matches and will look to partner with overseas travel companies to put in place packages for those passionate about the game and want to follow their team’s success in the tournament.
Cities will come alive for the tournament and we will look to have fan zones and activations around the venues to bring that world cup experience to the fans.
Objectives of the World Cup…
Australia and New Zealand have a proud record of hosting major international events and only recently co-hosted the most popular Cricket World Cup ever.
The Rugby League World Cup provides us with another opportunity to show the world how well we can host these major sporting events, how good our venues are and how exciting the sport of rugby league is.
Popular teams at the host nations…
The best thing about a world cup is that it is always full of surprises.
New Zealand is the number one team in the world at the moment and Australia, England and France will always be strong in these tournaments but you can never take these things for granted.
England were knocked out of the Cricket World Cup and Rugby World Cup last year when they were expected to perform better so you can never be too complacent at these events.
I’m looking forward to seeing the likes of Samoa, PNG, Fiji, the USA and some of the emerging teams playing in this tournament and creating some upsets along the way.
Venue Infrastructure & facilities…
Australia and New Zealand have some of the world’s best sporting grounds that have hosted some of the biggest events in the last few years including Olympic Games, the Cricket World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the Asian Cup.
The Rugby League World Cup provides these two countries with the opportunity to, yet again, show the world how well we can deliver major international sporting events rather than building infrastructure.
For PNG, the Rugby League World Cup will reinforce their standing as a major event destination. They are building new stadia for the tournament and only recently hosted the Pacific Games with great success. We hope this event will further strengthen their reputation for hosting major international events.
Preparations for the tournament…
We are on track to deliver the best ever Rugby League World Cup and give fans the chance to see the best of rugby league in their own backyard. We are getting close to announcing the final match schedule and will have tickets on sale later this year giving those who want to travel from overseas the opportunity to plan a trip around their team and see the best of Australia, New Zealand and PNG.
Spectator Planning & Community engagement…
Community engagement is critical to the success of all sporting events, whether they are major international events or local tournaments.
We will be working very closely with the governments and the rugby league community in all host cities to reach out to local multicultural communities and fans of the sport to support the event.
Fans will be given a world class experience wherever they choose to watch matches. Our partnership with the broadcasters and governments will ensure fans enjoy their experiences in the tournament, our venues look great, match day activations are engaging, transport solutions makes it easy to get to and from matches and the viewers at home see a great and exciting contest.
In addition, we will have an international and domestic marketing campaign to encourage people to travel and follow their team in the tournament.
Programs organized or planned related to this league tournament…
We plan to take the Rugby League World Cup to communities and classrooms across all three host countries. The precise programs haven’t yet been confirmed but we will be working with the NRL, NZRL and PNG Rugby League on education and community programs that will help drive interest in the tournament but more importantly leave a legacy for the sport for years to come.
Vision & Mission of the Tournament…
Our vision is to entertain the world, inspire communities and celebrate Rugby League.
This will be the best Rugby League World Cup ever and fans will get to the see the best rugby league has to offer over five weeks.
We want to see the passion and excitement of fans from all corners of the world fill the stands and support their national team.
We also want people to enjoy their time when they attend matches and visit the three host countries.
(Michael Brown is the CEO of 2017 Rugby League World Cup. He has the repute of leading various sporting organizations like the AFC Asian Cup 2015 & Cricket Australia.)