Groundbreaking public ticket ballot brings new audience to Rugby World Cup 2021

The Rugby League World Cup, outside Old Trafford which will host the men's and women's finals (Credit: SWPix)

Applications for tickets in the RLWC2021 ballot – the first in the sport’s history – far exceeded expectations with fans in the UK and around the world grabbing the unique opportunity to be at Rugby League’s showpiece event.

The tournament culminates in a showcase double header final at Old Trafford, Manchester on November 27, 2021.

The high demand for tickets during the public ticket ballot included 70% of ticket applications coming from fans who are new to Rugby League.

Tickets were also in demand across the world with applications from 32 different countries across five continents and as far and wide as Brazil and Jamaica, demonstrating the global appeal of the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup.

The new audience trend continued as the ballot brought in a younger demographic of fans with more than half of applications coming from millennials.

Excited fans were also applying in mass to be in with the best chance of securing tickets – the average number of tickets per application was six, with more than 50% of applications being made for more than one match.

London, which will host the semi-final with the first ever non-football match taking place at Emirates Stadium on November 20, 2021, topped the ballot demand with the most applications coming from postcodes within the capital – even overshadowing ticket requests from the North of England.

Matches involving hosts England and top-ranked teams have been highly sought after, but applications across all three tournaments were remarkable with a queue on the website right up until the ballot closed at 20:21, Monday, November 16.

The trailblazing double header final at Old Trafford, and the opening match between England and Samoa at St James’ Park, Newcastle, remain the most popular fixtures.

The public ballot phase was supported by the ‘Squads Assemble’ campaign and launch film which was viewed more than 1.5 million times as RLWC2021 invited the public to book their place at the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup in history.

In addition to the campaign, RLWC2021 released a declaration of hope written and performed by Manchester poet and proud Northerner Tony Walsh, on the one year to go milestone, October 23, 2020, to broaden the appeal of the tournament and excite fans outside of Rugby League.

RLWC2021 chief executive, Jon Dutton, said: “The reaction to the ballot has been outstanding and shows significant confidence and excitement for the tournament.

“Demand during the public ticket ballot has far exceeded our expectations and I want to thank those who have applied for tickets. This is a tournament of firsts and will be the biggest and best RLWC ever.

“Despite the pandemic people have made an early commitment, largely based on anticipation, hope and optimism.

“I have no doubt that the fans will contribute to a wonderful atmosphere with a feeling of passion and pride, showcasing our fantastic host towns and cities, welcoming the world and creating lifelong memories for everyone attending.”

RLWC2021 customer director, Terri Lynam, said: “The tournament is something people can look forward to, and the public can be assured, we will work tirelessly to deliver this tournament with full stadiums of fans.

“We wanted the RLWC2021 to be the most affordable, accessible and inclusive sporting event taking place exclusively in England next year, so we developed a pricing structure to drive accessibility with children tickets from £2.21 and adults from as little as £10.

“We wanted to make this world-class sporting event open to as many fans as possible. The demand for tickets demonstrates the success of this strategy and reflects the excitement of the public here and all the fans around the world, helping us to grow the long-term fan base of the game.”

Fans that applied for tickets during the public ticket ballot will be notified before the end of this month if they have been successful via email.

The fans who missed out in either the public ticket ballot or Rugby League family priority access sale will be prioritised again through a four-day window between the December 4-7, 2020, with more details to be confirmed in the coming week.

Premium seats and hospitality experiences are still on sale and available for all matches and will give fans the opportunity to secure a place at the tournament, in addition to enjoying the best match day experience each venue has to offer.