RFL chief executive Nigel Wood is predicting that the Rugby League World Cup 2013 will have a positive impact on the whole sport and leave a lasting legacy for clubs such as Hemel Stags.
The 14-nation tournament opened on Saturday with a spectacular opening at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium where an exciting double-bill featuring England v Australia and Wales v Italy got proceedings under way.
A further 26 matches at 20 other venues follow over the next five weeks – a period which Wood believes will go down in history as a golden era for rugby league.
“The tournament is already capturing the imagination of the public across the length and breadth of the country and everything points to us achieving our stated ambition of making this the greatest Rugby League World Cup of all time,” said Wood.
“Even before a ball is kicked, the interest in the tournament over the last few weeks has been little short of phenomenal.
“More people will watch the Rugby League World Cup 2013, both in person and on television, than at any other tournament in the sport’s 118-year history and the game will gain a significant lift in profile as a result.
“I am confident that an important aspect of this World Cup’s legacy will be the success in delivering new sponsors to the wider game, to the benefit of all our clubs and players.
“The whole World Cup experience is guaranteed to leave a lasting and indelible legacy in the memory banks of all who attend the games or watch on television, as was the case with previous tournaments.
“After some thrilling Super League and Championship Grand Finals, the World Cup proves beyond any doubt that 2013 is a great year to be a Rugby League supporter.”