The FIFA World Cup is reaching boiling point ahead of Sunday’s final, but that hasn’t stopped widespread interest in another World Cup taking place next year.
There’s been unprecedented interest in tickets for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, with 2.5 million applications made for tickets to date, some 700,000 more than the initial target set by organizers.
By contrast, FIFA announced a week before the start of Russia 2018 that just over 2.4 million tickets had been allocated to fans. Empty seats were seen at many of the games early on in the tournament.
“The response from both Japanese and international rugby fans has been truly amazing,” said Akira Shimazu, president of the organizing committee.
“We’ve seen incredible interest in matches featuring the host nation Japan, top-tier nations New Zealand, Ireland, Australia and England, as well as tremendous demand right across the knockout stages.”
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The tournament, which kicks off in September 2019, is the first to be held in Asia and the first to be hosted outside a Tier One nation. Previous editions have been staged in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, France, and the UK.
It is expected that 400,000 fans will travel to Japan, where 48 matches will be played across 12 venues.
With priority ballot sales now closed, the next opportunity for fans to secure tickets is on September 19, a year to the day before the tournament gets underway.
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“My message to those fans who have not yet been successful is to apply again in September 2018 when the next ballot phase opens,” said Shimazu.
“There are still plenty of great tickets available and we want to ensure that we welcome as many fans as possible to this once-in-a-lifetime tournament.”
The All Blacks are favorites to win a third successive World Cup in Japan and have recently enjoyed a 3-0 series victory over France.
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Ireland, however, has the best chance to win its first ever title having claimed a 2-1 series victory over Australia last month.