The 2021 Rugby League World Cup witnessed a groundbreaking achievement as it hosted the men’s, women’s, and wheelchair events simultaneously. England emerged victorious in the wheelchair competition, while Australia retained the titles in the other two categories.
UK Sport and a government minister have hailed the Rugby League World Cup 2021 as a trailblazing success, primarily due to its positive social impact on some of the country’s most underprivileged regions.
Although the tournament faced challenges in terms of ticket sales, the forthcoming financial results, expected to be released later this year, will provide a clearer picture of the incurred losses.
Nevertheless, a new report highlights that £30 million was invested in numerous community clubs, a move deemed to have a lasting impact, making RLWC2021 a “blueprint” for future large-scale events in the UK. The report, presented by The Sports Consultancy and Substance, concludes that the tournament successfully achieved its objective of making a positive difference in communities and grassroots rugby league, particularly in disadvantaged areas.
Stuart Andrew, Member of Parliament for Pudsey and the sports minister, expressed his admiration, stating, “Rugby League World Cup 2021 broke the mold by creating a legacy even before the first pass was thrown. Having witnessed firsthand what rugby league means to people in my own constituency, this report validates that the tournament’s £30 million social investment has truly delivered a lasting impact on communities throughout England.”
The tournament may not have generated the expected profit, partly due to its one-year postponement caused by Covid-related issues. Critics have also pointed out high ticket prices as a contributing factor to low attendance.
However, the social impact program’s highlights include a partnership between the RFL, the UK government, Sport England, and the National Lottery, which generated over £26 million invested in numerous community clubs. These projects encompassed a wide range of initiatives, from constructing new clubhouses to providing funding for equipment.
Additionally, RLWC2021 was the first tournament to introduce a mental health charter. Through a collaboration with Movember and Rugby League Cares, 300 mental health workshops were conducted for young people, parents, players, and volunteers. The report emphasizes that these social impact programs “brought communities together, broke down barriers, changed perceptions, and instilled a sense of pride.”
The communities that benefited from these initiatives were among the top 30% of the most deprived areas in the country.
Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair of UK Sport, described the World Cup as “a shining example of how hosting sporting events in this country can positively transform lives.” She further added, “The innovative approach to social impact, which was embedded in the tournament’s core, is something we hope to see in future sporting events.”
A survey conducted among spectators revealed that 85% of attendees believed that having the three World Cups combined on a single stage contributed to positive social inclusion. Furthermore, 56% of TV viewers reported feeling inspired to engage in more physical activity after watching RLWC2021.
Kirsten Sibbit-Johnston, Associate Director of The Sports Consultancy, expressed her belief that RLWC2021 can serve as a model for others to achieve tangible and relevant social impact through sports.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about social impact
What were the highlights of the social impact program during the Rugby League World Cup 2021?
The highlights of the social impact program included a partnership that generated over £26 million invested in community clubs, funding for various projects such as clubhouses and equipment, and the launch of a mental health charter with 300 workshops conducted for young people, parents, players, and volunteers.
Did the Rugby League World Cup 2021 achieve its social impact goals?
According to the report delivered by The Sports Consultancy and Substance, the tournament successfully achieved its ambition to make a positive difference in communities and grassroots rugby league, especially in deprived areas. It brought communities together, broke down barriers, changed perceptions, and gave people something to be proud of.
Did the Rugby League World Cup 2021 make a financial profit?
The tournament did not generate the anticipated profit, partly due to its one-year postponement caused by Covid-related issues. The full financial results, to be published later this year, will provide a more detailed understanding of the extent of losses incurred.
How did the Rugby League World Cup 2021 contribute to physical activity promotion?
A survey revealed that 56% of TV viewers reported feeling inspired to engage in more physical activity after watching RLWC2021. The tournament’s presence and excitement on the same stage for men’s, women’s, and wheelchair events were believed to have contributed to positive social inclusion and motivated individuals to be more physically active.
Which communities benefited from the social impact programs?
The social impact programs primarily targeted communities in the top 30% of the most deprived areas in the country. These communities received investments, initiatives, and support aimed at making a lasting impact and positive difference in their localities.