MP calls for Rugby attraction as report reveals town cashed in during World Cup - The Rugby Observer

MP calls for Rugby attraction as report reveals town cashed in during World Cup

Rugby Editorial 30th Mar, 2016 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

A PERMANENT rugby-themed attraction should be built in the town to help preserve the ‘lasting legacy’ of last year’s Rugby World Cup – so says MP Mark Pawsey.

Mr Pawsey told Parliament how an attraction could help put Rugby on the map, while a new report has indicated £3 was spent locally for every £1 invested during the autumn tournament.

Speaking after an official proposal in Parliament, Mr Pawsey said: “For so long our town did not seize on the potential that our standing as the birthplace of Rugby Football gave us. The World Cup, here in the UK, gave us the opportunity to showcase everything our town has to offer.

“Our celebrations were an incredible success and people from across the world flocked to Rugby to see where the game began.

“As the birthplace of the game we have a unique selling point. We have now begun to realise the possibilities this opens up. We need to ensure Rugby’s place on the map is secured and this would be a big step in the right direction.”

A report to Rugby Borough Council’s cabinet revealed the full impact of the borough’s world cup events, into which the council invested £1.1million.

It detailed how more than 26,000 people attended match screenings at the town’s Fanzone, 10,000 people attended festival events and 2,500 children took part in the education programme.

Rugby Borough Council leader Michael Stokes said: “The impact report shows that we made the most of our opportunity in the global spotlight, but more importantly also left a lasting legacy.

“With permanent improvements to the town centre, a new education programme, committed volunteers, and partners keen to explore new opportunities together, we can look back and be proud of our achievements.”

The report identified many businesses in the town centre who reported sales boosts of up to 20 per cent, with a few doubling their sales. The council also estimated for every one pound invested in the world cup, three pounds were spent locally.

But some have argued the figures are still unclear. Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) secretary Pete McLaren, who saw the council’s investment into the world cup as ‘a gamble’, said: “We have not been sent any raw data, so it is impossible for us to comment on the accuracy of a report which claims Rugby benefited considerably from the Council’s promotion of the Rugby World Cup.

“Indeed, the evidence presented by the council directly contradicts the anecdotal evidence we gained from a number of restaurants, pubs and hotels last autumn suggesting any income directly generated was minimal.”


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