First published on Running Rugby.
The first details of the legacy for community clubs of what is being described by organisers as “the best ever Rugby League World Cup” have been released, while Running Rugby has been told that a peak of over two million people watched four out of England’s five matches at the tournament.
“The Rugby League World Cup has continued to attract a strong audience since a peak of 2.4m tuned in for the opening coverage on 26 October. A peak of 2.1m saw England’s win over Ireland on 2 November, then an impressive peak of 2.2m watched as England triumphed over Fiji in Hull on 9 November,” said a BBC spokesperson. “On Saturday 16 November, a peak of 1.5m saw England beat France over on BBC Two. A peak of 2.3m watched England’s semi-final defeat against New Zealand on Saturday 23 November.”
Rugby League World Cup 2013 tournament director Nigel Wood has urged everyone involved in the sport to make the most of the opportunities that the event has created and has hailed it as a commercial success. “In terms of attendance and TV audience, spectacle and profile, and commercial and financial success, the tournament has met, and in most cases exceeded, all expectations,” he said.
“RLWC2013 has lit the blue touchpaper for every arm of the sport and it is my hope that everyone involved in rugby league at every level makes the most of the opportunities that now exist for them. RLWC2013 has also provided a terrific launchpad for rugby league at domestic level and the RFL will be working with all our clubs, both at community and professional levels, to help achieve our goal of growing the sport and gaining the recognition it deserves.”
Matches at the tournament were watched live in the stadiums by over 450,000 people, with a crowd of 74,468 for Australia’s 34-2 victory over New Zealand in Saturday’s final breaking the record for the best attended international rugby league match of all time.
A series of workshops are now being rolled out across the country in order to help community clubs make the most of the interest generated by the World Cup. Eight one-day ‘Welcoming Clubs Workshops’ have already been hosted by the RFL in northern England and they have been attended by 97 officers from 66 community clubs. Free resources, including a ‘Grow Your Club’ brochure, will be provided to help clubs to create an environment that caters for everyone and workshops will now be held in the South East, Midlands and North East as well.
“The passion within our community clubs is incredible and we wanted to build on this,” said RFL director of participation and strategic partnerships David Gent.
“The aim of the workshops was to offer an environment where volunteers and coaches could learn how to better engage with their local community, discuss ideas and gain practical advice on ways to drive club recruitment and participation, both in, and out of, season. The content of the course is designed to remain relevant, and inspiring, long after the close of the tournament.”