Government increasing pressure on World Cup ticket sales

·3-min read
Government World Cup Credit: PA Images
Government World Cup Credit: PA Images

World Cup boss Jon Dutton has revealed their next target for ticket sales after admitting the government is increasing the pressure on them.

Organisers last week announced a quarter of a million tickets sold, still way short of its initial target of 750,000 discussed with the government to provide its £25m funding for hosting the event and supporting its legacy projects. 

And Dutton has revealed to Love Rugby League that organisers are swiftly expecting to move towards new targets. 

“Our next target is to double that number and to double that number really quickly,” he told the latest Love Rugby League podcast.

“We have three targets; the first is to surpass what happened in 2013 when 476,000 people came along and enjoyed that tournament. The second is to better what the Women’s Euros did which was about 570,000. And the third, the final stretch target is to get to three quarters of a million. 

“In postponing the tournament we also stood by our refund policy and refunded a lot of tickets. That hurt us but it was the right thing to do. We’ve had to build back from that and we want to start with a sellout at St James’ Park and that is so important.

“Then we want to finish with a sold out Old Trafford. Everything else in between we will get from the momentum of that start and the unscripted drama of international rugby league.”

The world has changed ‘enormously’ since targets were set

Dutton says original targets focused on total sales of one million on what he describes as a once in a generation opportunity. 

“When we were bidding we looked at the number of one million. When we did our venue selection we saw that that possible as we didn’t have enough seats. 

“750,000 became the big target and we still have that in our sights. But the world has changed enormously. 

“The government have been tremendously supportive. On the 5th of September we will be on our fourth Prime Minister which shows the length of time in the delivery of this tournament. They have been tremendously supportive but are increasing the pressure on us to make sure we are doing all the right things, because at the end of the day we have a large amount of public money.

“There is no end of pressure but we are managing it in a very calm way.”

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