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NZ, Australia to co-host 2017 World Cup

February 19, 2014 

NZ, Australia to co-host 2017 World Cup

Rugby league’s wave of popularity gathers more momentum this week with the decision to award the 2017 World Cup to New Zealand and Australia as co-hosts.

“After last weekend’s successful Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park, this announcement is more great news for the game’s fans on both sides of the Tasman,” says NZ Rugby League chief executive Phil Holden.

“I think the Nines really captured everyone’s imagination and now the Kiwi sporting public has another really big rugby league event to look forward to.”

The New Zealand and Australian national bodies submitted their joint bid at last year’s World Cup in England, and have beaten out the challenge of league dark horse South Africa.

The hosting proposal included games in Papua New Guinea, with the possibility of further fixtures staged in other Pacific Islands.

“We made some big gains in developing rugby league at international level last year, with several new countries emerging during the World Cup,” says Holden.

“In putting this bid together, our overriding aim was to continue to grow ‘the greatest game of all’ around the globe and, importantly, secure a pinnacle event on the NZ calendar to capitalise on the game’s current growth and momentum.

“To that end, we’ve promised to deliver the most profitable World Cup in the history of the event and the most watched by TV audiences.

“Between us, New Zealand and Australia have proved we’re capable of staging major sporting events. Rugby league is Papua New Guinea’s national sport, so we’re very confident of producing something special for the next tournament.”

A Special Purpose Vehicle will be formed to run the World Cup, but Holden is keen for New Zealand to host at least a semifinal and perhaps even the tournament final.

“This World Cup will present an exciting vehicle for partners to work with the organisations staging the event,” says Holden.

“The commercial opportunities are vast and a rare opportunity for sponsors to showcase their brands to an international audience.”

ENDS

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