The United States has officially launched a bid to host the Men’s Rugby World Cup in 2027 or 2031 and the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2029. The bid marks the first time a country has bid for both events at once and if the men’s bid is successful, it will mark the first time the event will be hosted in either North or South America.
USA Rugby and the bid committee identified 28 cities that have already expressed an interest in hosting, mostly in NFL stadiums that seat 50,000 or more. An estimated 10 to 12 cities will be selected to host the men’s event, with six to eight expected for the women’s event.
NFL stadiums that would be considered as hosts have all given assurances that they will adjust their schedules if necessary to be available for two or three weekends since the Rugby World Cup is typically held between September and November, said Bid Chairman Jim Brown. NFL stadiums also tend to have narrower fields than what soccer and rugby require for international tournaments, although adjustments are expected to be made if cities are selected.
Of the 28 venues under consideration, close to 20 already comply or will comply with the field size, with the rest saying they will adjust their field sizes if selected, Brown said.
While the U.S. will seek either the 2027 or 2031 event on the men’s side, Brown said the bid committee prefers the later date. “I think it’s clear to say our preference in 2031, given the extra time we might want to focus on things like developing the game, developing the market for rugby and maximizing the longer period of time,” he said. “We are prepared to bid for 2027 but that preference has been shared with World Rugby.”
World Rugby is accepting bids for the events in 2025, 2027, 2029 and 2031, a rare moment when so many events will be considered at once. Bids will be accepted until January.
“After working on this for a year now, we are confident in the strength of this bid, the support around us, the cities and stadiums interested in hosting, our country’s top-level infrastructure for large-scale sports events and the opportunity the U.S. population of sports fans presents for rugby’s growth, both domestically and globally,” Brown said.
The bid committee released data supporting the bid, citing figures that suggest 80 percent of sports fans and 93 percent of rugby would support the United States hosting the Men’s and Women’s Rugby World Cups in the near future. In addition, 78 percent of sports fans and 90 percent of rugby fans believe the United States is well-equipped to host, according to the bid committee’s study.
USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer Ross Young said the potential to host the event would have significant impact on the sport’s growth in the United States. “For us it’s massively important,” he said. “The two pillars that we’re about and why we exist is all about increasing participation and improving performance at various levels including the national team, and there’s no greater platform to show that than the Rugby World Cup.”
An estimated 4.1 million tickets will be available if the U.S. gets both events. The men’s tournament, which would feature 48 matches, is estimated to bring between 150,000 and 410,000 international visitors with an estimated economic impact of $1.36 billion to $3.8 billion. The women’s event is estimated to bring 6,000 to 10,000 visitors with an estimated impact of $28.7 million to $39.7 million.
Leaders of the bid committee made the announcement in Washington D.C., which will host the USA Eagles and the New Zealand All Blacks in the inaugural 1874 Cup on October 23 at FedEx Field. The leadership team is also connecting with White House officials and leaders of the Congressional Rugby Caucus to discuss the growing popularity of rugby in the United States and the commercial and cultural value of potentially hosting.