Fans can be the power behind the World Cup

League Express 14 Oct First published in League Express, Monday 14th Oct 2013

In a guest column, Rugby League World Cup General Manager Sally Bolton urges League Express readers to buy their World Cup tickets before it is too late.

As the start of Rugby League World Cup 2013 draws nearer, our vision of success for each match becomes more vivid, and we’re extremely pleased with how close we are to realising our ambitions for the tournament.
Our initial focus was on selling tickets for the big three events, and we are delighted that the momentum created by interest in the Opening Ceremony, The Big Hit double header of semi-finals and The Final has helped RLWC2013 forge ahead in other areas.
There are positive ticket stories across the country, as towns and venues are afforded the opportunity to host once-in-a-lifetime global sporting events.
It’s something that local people have really bought into thanks to the hard work of our in-house marketing, PR and communications team, and our host partners, who have turned each match into a huge community celebration.
We’re also reaching more non-Rugby League fans than ever before, as evidenced by the high percentage of sales we have made across the board to places outside our traditional areas. In addition, 22 per cent of our ticket purchasers have told us they are preparing to attend their first ever live Rugby League game. We know that existing fans will give them a big welcome and the sport on show will bring them back for more; a great legacy for the sport long term.
Following the culmination of the play-off series on both sides of the world with two fantastic Grand Finals, the attention of the global Rugby League community has shifted onto the Rugby League World Cup 2013, and that’s been reflected by a massive increase in sales and general interest in the tournament.
More than 11,000 fans have ‘liked’ our Facebook page since the start of October, and there’s huge momentum on our Twitter account, which has steadily developed from new in the last two and a half years.
Just 12 days remain until the Rugby League World Cup 2013 Opening Ceremony, and the excitement here and throughout our community of sponsors, stakeholders and supporters is growing by the day – and with good reason.
Our sports presentation partners Event360, who have delivered the pre-match entertainment and post-match trophy presentations at the FA Cup Final, Six Nations matches and NFL UK matches, recently offered fans a visual sneak preview of what the Millennium Stadium will look like for the Opening Ceremony, and the response was terrific. Rightly so, fans are excited to get in their seats and we encourage them to do so by 1.30pm to ensure they don’t miss a minute.
We firmly believe it will live up to the hype as “the greatest show Rugby League has ever seen”, followed by matches featuring both of our co-hosts as England clash with Australia in arguably the biggest game in Rugby League, and Wales go head to head with an unpredictable Italy outfit.
When you see the 24-man squads (see pages 14 to 19) you will undoubtedly share our excitement that this will be the most competitive Rugby League World Cup and the best of all time, but we need your help to make it the biggest.
If you haven’t already, then I urge you to snap up a ticket for the Opening Ceremony, and to attend as many matches as you can.
Events like this don’t come around very often, do don’t miss out on being part of a truly memorable five weeks for the game. We’re working hard to ensure it’s one the Rugby League won’t forget.