If a stadium can hold a football game it can hold a Rugby one too; if the awarding of world cups only to countries that used quote-unquote specialist stadia than the USA or South Africa would never have been given the football version.
As for the growth of football, it's a little "chicken and egg", isn't it? There's an argument to be made that the sport increased in popularity in Japan precisely because of the founding of the J-League, which I'm fairly sure was a condition of them being given the football world cup in the first place. Obviously I can't be sure, but I think Rugby stands a pretty good chance of getting a similar boost if they were to host the WC.
I'd like to say that I don't think NZ will make a bad job of hosting the tournament at all, but that the awarding of it to you blokes is typical of the self-interest that seems to pervade all sports. I'd have said the same if we were awarded it ahead of them too. I just hope the IRB grasps the nettle in 2015.
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The IRB is an old boys network and that's why NZ got the Cup. I wanted it to go to Japan originally, but unless the media get behind the Japan team and the "prestige" of hosting the tournament, it would be hard to fill stadiums of any kind. The Japanese media are MORE than capable of doing hype, but like any country there's a lot of minor sports that fly under the radar even if there's a national side competing. Japan's rugby team get some coverage on TV and in the papers, but there's not much hype for the Rugby World Cup, which is a bad sign for their future bid, IMO. Remember it was Japan qualifying for the 1998 Football World Cup that began the soccer boom in earnest in Japan.
Apparently Japan has the world's fourth largest rugby playing population, but rugby isn't shown on terrestrial TV channels except for a few tournament finals, and I don't think it will grow in Japan unless the Japanese win a game at the Rugby World Cup.
Last edited by ohtani's jacket; 30-07-2007 at 07:37 AM.
Japan didn't win a game at the Football WC Finals until 2002, when they hosted it. The J-League got empty crowds until they won the bid for Football WC and the media hyped Football to the max. Really until Japan won the the rights to the World Cup in Football, it was just your average minor sport compared to Baseball and got little media coverage and very small crowds to domestic games.
Last edited by chaminda_00; 31-07-2007 at 12:14 AM.
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(Indeed, according to wiki, the J League had its highest average attendance in 1994, the World Cup was awarded in 1996, but the average attendance had halved by 1997. The current average attendance is 90 % of the 1994 figures.)
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If Japan are to win a bid, the Top League needs to become more popular. How they're going to achieve that without Rugby World Cup success, I don't know.
I don't see how a successful World Cup campaign has a great deal to do with a successful Top League. Japan didn;t win a World Cup match until they hosted the World Cup in 2002. The league became more success after they won the rights to World Cup, not on the back of World Cup Success. It just continued it development after that success.
They need success on a major stage before the media will take rugby seriously... Trouncing their Asian neighbours in WC qualifying doesn't really cut it. Long before the 2002 World Cup, there was hype surrounding Japan upsetting Brazil in the '96 Olympics, qualifying for the 1998 World Cup and winning the 2000 Asian Cup. Nakata was a major star. And they had a whole generation of ready made fans because of the popularity of the Captain Tsubasa manga.
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I don't think they could make a bigger mess than London has made of the 2012 Olympics so far. I think for the good of the sport, it should have been hosted in Japan so that it brings the sport to somewhere, where it wasn't as big. But going on the NZ having it, maybe they could use some of Australia's grounds? I mean it isn't all that far away as long as they stayed in the east coast.
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I've heard there's going to be a plate competition run at the 2011 world cup for the losing quarter finalists. They're calling it the Bledisloe Cup.
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