The Rugby League World Cup will receive a boost from famous duo Ant and Dec this weekend when it will enjoy a guest appearance on Saturday Night Takeaway.
With 200 days to go until the tournament gets underway in Newcastle, World Cup organisers are taking all three trophies on a 48-hour tour of the 18 host towns and cities. The trip will start in Newcastle on Tuesday morning and will finish at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
The publicity generated by the trophy tour will make a guest appearance on Saturday Night Takeaway, hosted by Ant and Dec.
“What a great moment for rugby league,” RLWC2021 chief executive Jon Dutton said.
“The show probably averages nine million viewers at prime time on a Saturday night.
“It is a different way of doing things. We’ve not got money to throw at things but we have got the money, if we are smart and efficient, to make sure we get those sellers.
“If we focus on the two book ends and good news stories coming across, we know the tournament will get momentum.
“The domestic season finishes on the 24th of September and then people will start to turn their attentions to the internationals.”
RLWC2021 to be biggest and best World Cup yet
Dutton revealed the World Cup organisers are in a better place than they were this time last year.
The 2021 World Cup was postponed a year when giants Australia and New Zealand withdrew from the tournament due to safety concerns caused by Covid-19. But Dutton reckons the extra time will actually benefit them in the long run.
Sales are above 50% for the opening game between England and Samoa at St James’ Park on October 15 as well as the finals double-header at Old Trafford on November 19.
“We are definitely in a better position than this time last year,” Dutton said. “I remember 200 days before the scheduled start of the World Cup, we were surrounded by uncertainty.
“I would say now there is 10% uncertainty but 90% positivity.
“In the crazy world that we live in and seeing all the terrible news from Ukraine, we have seen the public health situation get better but Covid still exists so we can’t be complacent.
“But people are coming to enjoy sport and there have been great crowds across Super League in the first six weeks, in the Championship and across every other sport.
“People are coming and enjoying things that we have not been able to do properly for two years.
“It feels different. We’ve got more resource, we’ve had more time.”