Rugby World Cup 2015 continues to grip the nation with over half a million local and international fans enjoying the Official Fanzones up and down the country to watch live matches and enjoy the excitement of the Tournament. This is in addition to over 1 million fans who have already enjoyed the action in venues to date, a figure which is set to double with 2.41 million tickets now sold across the 48 matches.
On a weekend that saw St James' Park and the Leicester City Stadium host their first matches of the Tournament, the Leicester and Newcastle Fanzones also welcomed fans for the first time. Newcastle's Fanzone in Science Central hosted 34,000 fans throughout Saturday, all eager to see Scotland v South Africa. In Leicester, the Pool C clash between Argentina and Tonga saw a full stadia with over 29,124 fans at Leicester City Stadium and a further 7,000 fans watching the match action on big screens in the Victoria Park Fanzone.
The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has now hosted three sell-out crowds following the Pool D clash between Ireland and Italy on Sunday, with over 150,000 fans having visited The Stadium during Rugby World Cup 2015 so far. The Fanzone in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has been visited by over 55,000 fans and will be opened up for all to enjoy on match days during the Knock Out phase.
A number of Fanzones will remain open through the Knock Out phase of the Tournament including Exeter, Rugby, Richmond and Newham. The Fanzone in Trafalgar Square, Central London, will open on the weekend of the semi-finals until the Final and include entertainment, food and drink, and Rugby activities on the semi-final, Bronze Final and Final matchdays. Outside of matchdays, the Square, along with a number of the Official Fanzones, will play host to grassroots and community rugby initiatives and events to celebrate the game and the wider Tournament. Details on where matches will be screened in Central London will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
England Rugby 2015 Managing Director, Stephen Brown, said: "Not only have we seen fantastic attendance at matches during Rugby World Cup 2015 with over 1 million fans already enjoying great Rugby in our match venues, but the Official Fanzones are proving extremely popular with over half a million fans enjoying the celebration of Rugby up and down the country.
"We saw such enthusiasm for Newcastle's opening weekend, with over 43,500 attendees across the weekend while Leicester City Stadium combined a full stadia of 29,124 crowd at Argentina v Tonga with a further 7,000 fans watching the game at the Victoria Park Fanzone. Our host cities are showcasing both the Tournament and the unique experience they can each offer travelling and international fans and we are delighted to see the numbers of engagement at such a high level as the Tournament continues."
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The magnificent Fanzones have been the heart of a very special and record-breaking Rugby World Cup that continues to reach, engage and inspire audiences. Nowhere has rugby's spirit of enjoyment been more evident than in the Fanzones, where fans from across the nation have joined tens of thousands of international fans in a truly global celebration of friendship and rugby."