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Why are Rugby World Cup tickets so expensive?
We asked World Rugby and England 2015 – the tournament organisers.

AS THE START of this year’s biggest sporting event draws ever closer, many fans have been left frustrated in their attempts to follow Ireland’s progress at the World Cup.

It may just be a short hop across the water for Ireland supporters but even still, they’ve been forced to pay inordinate prices for transport, accommodation and – most significantly – tickets.

World Rugby insist the level of sales has justified their pricing structures for the tournament but the excessive prices means they’ve acted as a barrier for many fans hoping to take in a game, or two.

Instead, the general consensus is that you’re better off on the couch or down the local as World Rugby and the organisers, England 2015, have ultimately priced the majority of fans out of attending games.

The British Labour party has accused the government of ’failing fans’ by not ensuring ticket prices were subsidised and that anyone looking to go to games are being ‘ripped off left, right and centre.’

It’s hard to disagree with that assessment.

Back in November 2013, the pricing structure for the tournament was announced but it wasn’t until fans went to apply through the online ballot that the reality struck home.

For the Ireland fixtures, tickets cost as much as €209 for the Canada, Romania and Italy matches while the chance to catch the final Pool D game against France would have set you back close to €300.

A view of the Rugby World Cup balls Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Research by shows that Ireland fans will spend as much as €20,000 following Joe Schmidt’s side over the next few weeks – that includes tickets, accommodation, food and beverages, flights and then transport within the United Kingdom.

The minimum price of going to each Ireland game, according to the research, is close to €4,000.

Yet organisers will point to the fact the tournament, with just a handful of days until the opening game, is 92% sold out with 2.45 million tickets pre-sold. According to World Rugby, those figures makes the 2015 edition the biggest one to date and it hasn’t even started.

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“With over 2.2 million tickets sold to date, we feel that the pricing strategy is right for a tournament of this nature,” a World Rugby spokesperson told The42.

“Prices are in line with previous tournaments and in line with major events in sports and wider entertainment. Rugby World Cup is the world’s third largest sporting event but through our pricing strategy we have been able to offer fans the opportunity to attend matches from £7 for children, with child tickets available at 41 of 48 matches, and £15 for adults.”

But those discounted tickets are for games where demand is much less. For example, there are still £15 seats available for Canada v Romania in Leicester – still the World Cup but hardly a glamour tie.

It’s the fundamental economic concept of supply and demand. Such is the appetite for the ‘showcase’ games, fans have been warned about buying from unofficial sources with some outlets selling tickets for a couple of thousand pounds.

Of course, there are some steadfast supporters so committed to the cause that they won’t be deterred by the struggle for tickets and the prices they’ve been forced to pay.

And World Rugby maintain that this is an ‘affordable and accessible’ tournament but they’ve priced the majority of rugby supporters out of following their team.

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