League cashes in on World Cup success - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

League cashes in on World Cup success

By Steve Jancetic 20/11/2008 05:58:38 PM Comments (0)

The Rugby League International Federation will use the $5 million in profits generated by the World Cup to fund an expanded Test calendar.

And they've set their sights on matching the rise of rugby union's showpiece event with the RLIF keen to cash in on the foundations set by this year's World Cup, which will attract a sellout crowd of 52,000 to Saturday night's final in Brisbane between Australia and New Zealand.

"If you just cast your mind back to when the rugby World Cup started ... the semi-final was played in Sydney was played at Concord Oval in front of a crowd of 15,000 people," RLIF chairman Colin Love said.

"It was a modest success.

"But in the 21 years (since) that event has now become a major international sporting event.

"I believe the product we've got in rugby league is as good as in any other code and there's no reason why we can't head in that direction hopefully in a much shorter period of time."

Despite this being the 13th staging of the World Cup, the tournament is being viewed as a stepping stone to bigger things.

It has left the RLIF with a kitty in excess of $5 million - much of which has come from healthy television deals - which Love says will be pumped back into the game to assist with the development of the emerging nations.

The most obvious consequence is the transformation of the Tri-Nations into a four-nations concept, with the Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand to be joined by another country on a rotating basis.

France will take part and most likely host some games in the 2009 tournament to be staged in the northern hemisphere, at which time a Pacific Nations Cup will be contested with the winner to become the fourth team in the 2010 four-nations.

Love said the timing of the Pacific Nations Cup would enable NRL and Super League players to turn out for those countries competing in the competition.

The expanded international program is all about improving the standard of the lesser lights ahead of the 2013 World Cup, which will likely be staged in the UK, though Love said Australia would also bid to host the event.

"What I'm keen to do is make sure that the international game maximises the revenue that it can earn from this event," Love said.

More than 220,000 fans - an average of over 14,000 per game - have attended the World Cup with television viewing audiences just topping nine million.

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