World Cup attendances sink during opening round

Questions are being asked over the marketing of the World Cup after the first seven matches in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea attracted an average crowd of only 10,782.

That’s down on the corresponding figure of 13,035 for the 2013 World Cup held in England, Wales, France and Ireland, when the overall average attendance for the tournament was 16,374.

The last time the World Cup was held in the Southern Hemisphere, in Australia in 2008, the average crowd was 16,302.

Friday’s opener between Australia and England attracted 22,724 to the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, while New Zealand’s match against Samoa on Saturday was seen by 18,200 at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium.

The Papua New Guinea versus Wales showdown in Port Moresby attracted 14,800 while there was an attendance of 9,216 for the double-header in Cairns, where Scotland faced Tonga and Ireland took on Italy.

Meanwhile 5,429 saw France play Lebanon in Canberra while 5,103 watched the Fiji versus USA clash in Townsville.

Back in 2013, the tournament was opened by a double-header made up of England v Australia and Wales v Italy which attracted 45,052 to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.