The Rugby World Cup has returned to New Zealand for the first time since the nation co-hosted the debut tournament 24 years ago. But New Zealand Rugby Union head, Steve Tew has already raised concerns about the financing behind the game and whether New Zealand can even afford to play in another World Cup. If we judge from a purely commercial standpoint, it might rationally be expected that New Zealand may be hosting the world cup for the last time, despite the success of the sport in the region.
The sport has changed a lot since New Zealand first hosted the World Cup in 1987 – it’s more professional, it has a global outlook and even an upcoming role in the Olympics. All of this points towards an important and growing international advertising market, enhanced by strong national and club competitions across both hemispheres. But there are still problems with the New Zealand market and what it can really achieve.