The idea that Ireland is to bid, and could potentially host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, is an exciting prospect for any Irish sports fan.
In the past decade international sporting events such as the Special Olympics World Games (2003), Volvo Ocean Race (2009 & 2012), Tall Ships Race (2005, 2011 & 2012) and most notably the Ryder Cup (2006) have been held in Ireland.
The prospect of one of the world’s major sporting events coming to this country has led to speculation regarding upgrading of national infrastructure, the economic impact of the event and legacy benefits in the years after the tournament is held (see John Considine's earlier post here).
While hosting the 2023 RWC will make people happier (see here), the economic benefits accruing from hosting the 4th biggest sporting event in the world, are very much debatable. In fact, Ireland is likely to join a long list of states that loses money from hosting major sporting event.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar stated on RTE’s Primetime that the potential benefits to the economy from hosting the 2023 RWC could be up to €800 million (nominal terms). It’s unlikely the event will generate anything in the region of this. However, if you include the ‘happiness factor’, or the pride that hosting the event would bring to the Irish people, the benefits will run into billions of euros.
I'm behind the bid from a sporting perspective. We need to accept that the event will be a net drain on the state. More to follow on this…