Five points which will determine whether Ireland wins the bid next year:
- Women’s 2017 Rugby World Cup
Ireland is the host of the Womens Rugby World Cup next year. It should be viewed by the IRFU as a test event to prove to World Rugby that the country can host the men’s equivalent. The venues for this tournament are smaller; confined to Dublin and Belfast but the organization and smooth running of the tournament will be taken into account when deciding the location of the 2023 RWC bid. Ireland should embrace this tournament and send a massive statement to World Rugby that the country is ready to host this prestigious tournament.
- Casement Park Project
The venue which will make or break the bid. Any faltering progress reports on the build of this project will spell disaster. It is imperative that cross border bodies proactively manage this venture and ensure that the stadium is delivered on time and on budget. Casement Park plans look exciting but given the delays and protests to the project by locals, concern has to be raised on this venue at this early stage. Fingers crossed.
- Public and Private Support
This is a no brainer as the Irish public are totally behind the bid. The venues selected will embrace the tournament and welcome players and fans alike. The private sector are now but given uncertain economic times ahead with Brexit next year, will the private sector contribute the investment required to get this bid over the line?
- Infrastructural Upgrades
Road networks, train networks, accommodation, broadband connectivity across the land need to be on point for this tournament. The venues will provide the hospitality involved but the infrastructure in these cities and towns needs to be on point as well. The Irish Government needs to provide a comprehensive plan setting out the upgrades which will take place in the next five years to appease World Rugby of concerns on this point.
- Tournament Profitability vs. Affordability
Will this be a tournament for the few or the tournament for the many? We have seen recent World Cup tournaments where the majority population of host countries excluded from attending games due to the high ticket prices. This cannot happen for this bid. The stadiums selected need to be priced competitively in order for matches to be played to full houses. Revenue streams will spawn from these full houses. IRFU will retort that ROI is essential for the bid to succeed but the prices for tickets, hospitality and travel needs to be on point. The eyes of the world will be upon us; best foot forward. Bring the RWC to Ireland in 2023!