NZ says 2011 Rugby World Cup on track - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NZ says 2011 Rugby World Cup on track

09/09/2009 12:31:07 PM Comments (0)

Preparations for the 2011 Rugby World Cup are on track despite financial uncertainties arising from the global economic crisis, organisers said Wednesday.

New Zealand will be hosting the tournament for the first time since the inaugural event in 1987, and top International Rugby Board (IRB) officials are in the country to review progress.

"I'm sure New Zealand 2011 will deliver yet another hugely successful and memorable chapter in the Rugby World Cup story," IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said at a ceremony to mark the two-year countdown at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.

IRB chief executive Mike Miller told AFP that international rugby was in good shape despite the financial crisis, although income from corporate hospitality was under pressure.

"I think the money is there, but some, particularly financial institutions, don't want to flaunt the cash at this point in time, so corporate hospitality is down a bit," he said.

Martin Snedden, chief executive of Rugby New Zealand 2011, a joint venture between the New Zealand Rugby Union and the government, said his organisation had been budgeting for a loss of $NZ30 million dollars ($A24.38 million) from the time of the successful bid for the tournament in 2005.

It will only earn income from World Cup ticket sales, with the IRB collecting the rest of the revenue from sponsorship, television rights and other income.

"The budget (loss) still stands at around 30 million dollars, but it's undoubtedly under a wee bit of pressure," Snedden said.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he was not surprised about reports the loss could rise, but said the government took a wider view of the tournament's success.

"We're confident this will be a great way to showcase New Zealand to billions of worldwide viewers and the 60,000-odd tourists that will come to New Zealand from overseas," he said.

Miller said organisers had made good progress ahead of the September 9, 2011 opening match.

The Eden Park stadium in Auckland, which will host the final and semi-finals, is six weeks ahead of schedule in an upgrade that will boost its capacity to 60,000 spectators.

A total of 20 teams will take part in the event to be held at 13 venues around New Zealand, with the final scheduled on October 23.

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