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Vancouver rugby fans on alert as United States to host World Cup for first time

U.S. bid group included Vancouver in an original list of cities under consideration
Team Canada rugby fans take in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series action at Starlight Stadium just outside Victoria Saturday, April 30, 2022. (Justin Samanski-Langille/News Staff)

The United States will stage a Rugby World Cup for the first time after being voted as host of the men’s tournament in 2031 and the women’s tournament two years later.

World Rugby announced host nations for all the World Cups from 2025-33 following a Thursday meeting of its council in Dublin, with Australia also staging back-to-back tournaments in 2027 (men) and 2029 (women).

The sport is breaking new ground by moving its most prestigious tournament to North America, with World Rugby regarding it as an area of untapped potential in both a commercial and sporting sense.

Hosting the two World Cups will cost around US$500 million, with profits and losses shared between World Rugby and USA Rugby. More than 20 American cities are potential hosts for World Cup matches, USA Rugby has said.

There could be Canadian involvement with the U.S. bid group including Vancouver in an original list of cities under consideration for participation.

“We congratulate USA Rugby and are excited the events are coming to North America,” acting Rugby Canada CEO Jamie Levchuk said in a statement. “We look forward to exploring opportunities with potential host partners in Canada in the years ahead.”

B.C. Place Stadium has drawn sizable crowds for the Canada Sevens, Canada’s stop on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. The two-day event drew total attendance of 77,096 in 2018.

Canada hosted the women’s World Cup in 2006.

U.S. cities under consideration are Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Glendale, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

The bid received support from the White House, with U.S. President Joe Biden sending a letter to World Rugby last month giving governmental guarantees and his backing for the “development of rugby in the United States.”

The men’s Rugby World Cup is regarded in some parts of the world as the third-biggest sporting event, after the soccer World Cup and the summer Olympics.

The U.S. is hosting all three events in a five-year span from 2026, starting with the men’s soccer World Cup that year — with Mexico and Canada as co-hosts — and then the Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028.

—The Associated Press

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