Successful bid to host Rugby World Cup could bring £2.5m into city
THE Rugby World Cup could draw £2.5 million into Derby if the city is successful in becoming a host venue.
Derby City Council has put in a bid with Pride Park to be one of the host stadiums for the tournament in 2015.
Council leader Paul Bayliss said: "If we won this bid it would be great for Derby. It will flow on from the Olympics and the great sporting events we have seen in the city."
Mr Bayliss said he believed Derby could fare better than known rugby cities like Leicester.
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He said: "The criteria of the bid was that they wanted to see a legacy so it could actually work in our advantage that we are not a rugby city. We have also shown we can put on a darn good show – we proved that with the Olympic Torch relay.
"If we are chosen the benefit to the local economy will be at least £2.5 million."
The city has been able to specify two nations it would like to host. Mr Bayliss said he wanted to see a home nation play in Derby and that Ireland had been specified. For the Southern Hemisphere, Mr Bayliss said the city would like to host either South Africa or Australia.
John Forkin, director of Marketing Derby, said the benefits to the city if it were chosen to host the Rugby World Cup matches would be "quite varied".
He explained: "There are short-term benefits in terms of visitors spending money in our hotels and restaurants but, more widely, I think there is the benefit of Derby's profile being raised as a sporting location.
"With the investment in the city of a new velodrome sports arena and Olympic-sized swimming pool, coupled with the success of Derbyshire Cricket Club and the growth of Derby County, there is real potential for the city to be seen as a cluster of sports activity and that will encourage investment."
Other possible venues include Villa Park in Birmingham, the Ricoh Arena in Coventry and the Walkers Stadium in Leicester.
Only three of the stadiums on the list host Rugby Union matches regularly – Twickenham, the Millennium Stadium and Gloucester's Kingsholm ground.
Mr Forkin said that although Derby was not known as a "rugby city", he argued it did not mean Pride Park stood little chance of being chosen to host World Cup matches in 2015.
"All we can do is put forward our strengths which are a central location, excellent transport links and an excellent portfolio of hotels and restaurants."
The chosen venues are expected to be announced early next year.