RWC 2019: Japan's $1.8 billion bonanza

Rugby union has well and truly arrived in Japan, the six-week showcase set to inject 216.6 billion yen ($1.8 billion) into the country’s economy

Japan, until recently, has been relatively unknown on the global rugby union stage.

In 2015 on the south coast of the UK, in Brighton, the national side produced arguably the greatest upset the world of rugby has ever seen, overcoming South Africa 32-34 in the dying seconds to secure a victory that nobody could see coming.

Fast-forward four years to the next World Cup, and Japan is now hosting the tournament.

Spread across 12 host cities, the event is set to deliver inject 216.6 billion yen ($1.8 billion) of additive value into the Japanese economy, thanks in no small part to the 400,000 international fans expected to touch down before the final on November 2.

RWC2019 could attract up to 1.8 million fans in total, exceeding the number seen the last time it was held in the Asia Pacific region, in New Zealand in 2011. Since the first Rugby World Cup was held in 1987, it has grown tremendously in size and stature, with many visitors staying in the host nation for several weeks.

This is according to a study undertaken by EY on behalf of the Japan Rugby 2019 organising committee, which predicts a total economic of around 437.2 billion yen ($3.63 billion).

With many of the match venues and team camps enhancing facilities ahead of the tournament and host cities investing in transport links, the report estimates the nation is set to invest ¥40 billion ($0.33 billion) in infrastructure.

During the event, a wide range of job opportunities will be presented across different sectors for a variety of different demographics of the population. Indeed, the EY study predicts that up to 25,000 jobs will be supported across the country.

Commenting on the impact the sport’s most prestigious showcase will have on its Japanese hosts, Bill Beaumont, Chairman of World Rugby, said: “Rugby World Cup is one of the world’s biggest and most popular global sporting events that attracts sports and major event fans from around the world for a six-week celebration of rugby and the host nation.

“The findings of the report outline the enormous economic, sporting and social benefits of Rugby World Cup 2019, reaffirming its low-investment, high-return attractiveness to future host unions and governments and just why the tournament increasingly is great for rugby and great for the host nation.

“We are looking forward to what promises to be a very special Japan 2019 tournament that will secure not just an economic legacy, but a participation and fan legacy across Asia through our Impact Beyond programme, run in partnership with the JRFU and Asia Rugby.”

And with Tokyo set to stage the Olympic Games in 2020, Japan is currently embracing an unprecedented period of sporting and economic opportunity.