By Marcus Leach

A report published by MasterCard has suggested that the 2011 Rugby World Cup (RWC) could, in the long run, boost New Zealand's economy by $1.2bn (£756m).

The research, titled Economic Impact on Global Rugby Part IV: Rugby World Cup 2011 found that sport associated economic activity may be worth up to $11.7 billion (NZ$14 billion) to the New Zealand economy by the end of the decade.

The report examines the value of RWC 2011 by looking at the short-term commerce flow through international fans spending in bars, clubs, shops, hotels, bookmakers and inside host stadia, along with spending by sponsors and organisations on marketing in the cities around matches.

It also examines the longer-term economic impacts on New Zealand’s economy and the legacy of the tournament as a whole.

“This Tournament will be like no other: it will attract stronger than ever interest across the world, which will in turn boost commercial interest in and activity around the event,” Dave Arthur, Centre for the International Business of Sport, said.

The tournament will attract stronger than ever interest across the world due to the increased strength of the Rugby World Cup brand and the significance of it returning to its spiritual home - RWC 2011 will be the first time the tournament has returned to the same host nation and the same final venue since 1987.

“RWC is one of the world’s top three major sports events and the largest in the world this year," IRB Chief Executive, Mike Miller said.

"As the report underlines, it will drive significant economic activity around the globe and, in particular, in New Zealand, both during the tournament and in the longer-term.

“We have no doubt the tournament will be spectacular and memorable. It is being contested in a nation that loves rugby and is ranked number onein the world and will be more competitive and unpredictable than ever.

"Alongside the more established rugby nations, fans will be able to see emerging nations such as Russia, who will be playing in their first RWC, and Romania where participation has risen 222% since 2003, adding to the appeal of the tournament and inspiring further growth.”

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