Four London locations will host Rugby World Cup “fanzones” when the tournament kicks off in England later this year.
Trafalgar Square, Wembley Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Old Deer Park in Richmond will all host fan parks complete with big screens broadcasting live games, entertainment, food and drink and “rugby related activities”.
A total of 15 fanzones will be set up around the country at every host city with “unique regional content to celebrate each host city and match venue’s role in Rugby World Cup 2015”.
According to the tournament organisers, over 1m fans are expected head to the free fanzones throughout the six-week competition.
England Rugby 2015 CEO Debbie Jevans said:
We are pleased to deliver another tournament first with an official Fanzone in every host city as well as additional Fanzones in Rugby - the birthplace of the game - and London’s Trafalgar Square.
Fan parks at Wembley and the Olympic Park will be able to accommodate up to 15,000 and 10,000 respectively while 5,000 fans will be able to cram into the Trafalgar Square which will host grassroots and community rugby initiatives.
Fanzones will offer fans a more affordable alternative to match tickets which have been swept up thanks to record demand. Over 90pc of fans who applied for tickets missed out, but those listed on second-hand websites such as StubHub have reached eye-popping four figure prices.
Setting up free fan parks have proved to be a successful way for sports events to both raise extra revenue and increase public interest in the tournament. The Rugby World Cup is expected to bring in close to £1bn for the UK economy and attract 466,000 visitors.