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World rugby plays catch-up with football

Friday, September 18, 2015 - 01:47

The Rugby Cup 2015 is expected to add billions of pounds to host nation, the United Kingdom's output. But in a sporting market dominated by football, world rugby's competing national teams look surprisingly undervalued. David Pollard reports.

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It's every New Zealand boy's dream to become an All Black. It's every All Black's dream to win another World Cup. Even the legendary Dan Carter. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND FLYHALF, DAN CARTER, SAYING: "It's just around the corner now. I can't wait." Rugby started here - Rugby school - in 1823. From today, it's here: the 82,000 seat Twickenham and the UK's other top stadia. Since the first world cup, ticket sales have boomed. As have host nation revenues - this year tipped to top one billion pounds. Potential TV audiences are soaring - not just in rugby's heartlands. Brett Gosper is organiser World Rugby's chief exec. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE WORLD RUGBY, BRETT GOSPER, SAYING: ''We want maximum exposure in particular in markets like India, China, Brazil and the USA. Worth noting that there will be for the first time 24 live matches in Germany, 22 live matches in China." So why then are the teams worth, relatively, so little? The epic All Blacks - their brand estimated at just 125 million dollars. Compare that to, for example, around a billion for Manchester United. Robert Haigh of Brand Finance. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT HAIGH, BRAND FINANCE, SAYING: ''It's a congested market really because football is so dominant. It has very low barriers to entry, it's globally popular. Rugby's improving, we're going to see at the next Olympic games and it's developing in Asia, but I think it's going to be some yet before rugby can go anywhere near challenging football for at least the numbers of fans.'' With a larger home market, England might be worth a little bit more. But that in part depends on who wins. There the maths still favour New Zealand. Despite their home advantage, England trail with odds of 9 to 2. The All Blacks at around 5 to 4 to win an unprecedented second tournament in a row.

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World rugby plays catch-up with football

Friday, September 18, 2015 - 01:47