'You can't please everyone' admits IRB chief
November 27, 2013
United they stand ... © Getty Images
Organisers of the 2015 Rugby World Cup have defended the strategy for ticket prices and kick-off times with IRB chief executive Brett Gosper admitting: "You can't please everyone." But they have insisted they have struck the right balance between making the World Cup accessible and generating sufficient revenue to enable them to show a surplus.
England 2015 chief executive Debbie Jevans stressed that emphasis has been placed on child attendance during the group stage, with "core rugby fans" present from the quarter-finals onwards.
"We thought a lot about child tickets and we decided to have a family friendly approach to the pool stages," she said. "Of the 48 matches at the World Cup 41 have child prices. It's only the back end of the tournament when they don't.
"A family of four can go and watch Australia or South Africa for £70, or in Manchester a family can watch England for £130. All in all I think we've been very inclusive and I'm very proud of that."
Over one million of the total 2.3 million available tickets will go on sale at £100 or less with 500,000 selling at £50 or less. Adult tickets start at £15 for pool matches.
The prices set for the final at Twickenham - £150, £315, £515 and £715 - will be beyond many supporters, but Jevans insisted the figures are competitive. "Every event has to raise revenue to put on the tournament and therefore you have to have some tickets that may be regarded as expensive. In doing that you can have a number of low prices - 200,000 at £20 or less is a pretty good statistic.
"We have looked at previous World Cup finals and other international events. We believe we are comparable to those and are very competitive."
The scheduling of the England games for 8pm has, critics argue, made it hard for children to attend but Jevans disagreed, countering: "We wouldn't put on an 8pm kick-off if we weren't confident we could make this a fantastic spectator experience".
RFU chairman Bill Beaumont took a slightly different line, saying the uniqueness of being present at a home World Cup had to outweigh any logistical difficulties.
"Coming from the north west, my pals will always have a dig at me for the 8pm time … Twickenham is our home ground and it's in London. How many World Cups do we host? Not that many. I'm very confident that the true England supporter will want to come because they want to be part of a World Cup."
Gosper said kick-off times were in part down to the "We've had to balance many needs - player welfare, spectator pleasure and broadcast needs around the world. It's a complex process but we're happy with where we've ended up."
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