Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Third Report


26. Judged in terms of the income generated and the number of spectators and viewers attracted, the Rugby World Cup ranks as the fourth largest sporting event in the world.[57] The Rugby World Cup was staged in October and November 1999 by the Welsh Rugby Union and its partner unions in England, Scotland, France and Ireland with considerable success.[58] The Millennium Stadium was completed in time to serve as a fitting centrepiece for the event.[59] The profit arising from the event exceeded the forecast.[60] Thanks in part to financial support from a range of public bodies in Wales, the event delivered a considerable boost to Welsh tourism and to the Welsh economy.[61]

27. The benefits to Wales resulted in some measure from the extent of public involvement and from concerted efforts to promote the Welsh identity of the event. However, the tournament structure depended crucially upon the involvement of the Five Nations and evidence from the Scottish Rugby Union expressed concern that the benefits were not effectively distributed across the different countries where matches were held.[62] Nevertheless, there are encouraging early signs of increased participation in rugby being stimulated by the World Cup in Scotland and England as well as in Wales.[63]

28. The England and Wales Cricket Board organised the 1999 Cricket World Cup with the clear ambition of broadening the spectator base for the sport in this country.[64] The event was very successful in this regard, most notably in stimulating greater interest in cricket among women and ethnic minorities.[65] The World Cup was also a commercial success.[66] The England and Wales Cricket Board linked its promotion of the tournament with its support for increased school participation in cricket, a move which is showing dividends, particularly at primary school level.[67] Sport England speculated that England's early exit from the tournament might have blunted the sports development impact of the tournament, although the organisers observed that interest rose in the later stages despite England's departure.[68] The Government has rightly characterised the Cricket World Cup as "a resounding success".[69] While the wider benefits beyond the sport itself may not be as apparent as with some events, this is almost certainly connected to the absence of a direct public sector financial commitment to the tournament.[70]

57  Evidence, p 260. Back

58  Evidence, pp 242-243. Back

59  Evidence, p 242. Back

60  Evidence, p 245. Back

61  Evidence, pp 259-262, 271. Back

62  Evidence, pp 249, 263. Back

63  Evidence, pp 264, 35, 248. Back

64  HC (1998-99) 124-I, para 26. Back

65  Evidence, pp 199, 250. Back

66  Evidence, p 250. Back

67  Evidence, p 251. Back

68  Evidence, pp 34, 250. Back

69  Evidence, p 199. Back

70  Evidence, pp 236-237. Back

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