With 500 days to go until Rugby World Cup 2015 in England kicks off, Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset is confident that preparations are on track to deliver "an unforgettable and special" record-breaking event that will further the growth of the sport worldwide.
With fans snapping up tickets in record numbers through the official supporter tour programme and with Rugby community ticket sales beginning today, tournament organisers England Rugby 2015 Limited have announced that tickets for all 48 matches will go on general sale globally from September 12-29 2014.
With more than 400,000 international fans are expected in the UK for the six-week festival of Rugby and the host nation, the official supporter tour programme is on track to be the biggest in the tournament’s history with more than 130,000 tickets sold to fans in 50 nations, double the level sold at the same stage for New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the official hospitality programme is set to be the biggest for any event staged in the UK with latest sales figures reporting over 20,000 sales, a record-breaking 146 per cent increase in packages sold so far in comparison to this stage at previous tournaments in 2007 and 2011.
Lapasset said: “With 500 days to go, everything is in place to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2015 is an unforgettable and special experience for players and fans, delivering a record-breaking platform for the promotion and growth of Rugby worldwide.
"The vision and dedication of the event organisers has driven great excitement and enthusiasm across the 13 venues and 11 host cities and this is being reflected across the global Rugby community as we count down to what I am confident will be the biggest and best Rugby World Cup yet, furthering the profile and growth of Rugby in the host nation and worldwide."
An expanded broadcast and digital platform looks set reach fans in more than 208 territories, including a number of new territories for Rugby World Cup with the TV and digital offering delivering 20,000 hours of action.
As fans start to plan their Rugby World Cup 2015 experience, the dedicated international Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour in partnership with Land Rover and DHL will whet fan appetite, with the iconic Webb Ellis Cup visiting 15 nations along the way, spreading Rugby World 2015 excitement.
The first-ever Trophy Tour will take in the remaining Rugby World Cup qualifiers as the race for England 2015 nears its conclusion. By the time the 20th and final team is confirmed via the Repechage in October, a record 3,000 players representing 83 nations will have taken part in a record 203 qualification matches.
England Rugby 2015 CEO, Debbie Jevans, said: "Our plans are right on track with 500 days to go. We are pleased to announce the dates of the general ticket sales today, allowing fans to save the date and plan."
"The International Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour gives us a unique opportunity to celebrate rugby around the world in the lead up to 2015, engaging and exciting rugby fans and potential new audiences ahead of the Tournament."
"Everything is in place now for a great Tournament as we move into the delivery phase of our major campaigns. We can already see the great enthusiasm for RWC 2015 500 days out, with over 20,000 applications to join The Pack and the positive response to the Rugby Community Ticket programme."
Official Rugby World Cup 2015 travel and hospitality packages are currently on sale. For more information please visit www.rugbyworldcup.com/ticketing