Organizers hope to use London's Olympic Stadium for 2015 Rugby World Cup
The Olympic Stadium is seen at the London 2012 Olympic Park in east London, Wednesday, July 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Published Monday, September 17, 2012 1:31PM EDT
TWICKENHAM, England -- The Olympic Stadium in London could be used as one of the venues for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with organizers looking to feed off the success of the London Games for Britain's next major sporting event.
There are still uncertainties regarding who the tenants of the 80,000-seat arena will be after the London Games, with Premier League football club West Ham one of four bidders.
But if a tenant is secured before the list of 10 to 12 venues is submitted by the World Cup's organizing committee at the start of next year, the iconic stadium that staged the gold-winning displays of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah could add rugby to the list of sports it will host.
"We have engaged with them from the very early part of this year and through the Olympic legacy company -- you would be mad not to include it as part of your thinking," said Ross Young, chief operating officer of England's organizing committee.
The strong ticket sales that the Olympic Stadium would generate will help organizers post the profit of 100 million pounds ($162 million) they are aiming to raise from the tournament.
With that in mind, football stadiums with big capacities such as Old Trafford, Anfield and Wembley will be relied upon to host matches along with the international grounds of Twickenham and Millennium Stadium. So far, only Leicester Tigers' Welford Road and Gloucester Rugby's Kingsholm are under consideration as English club rugby venues.
"To get as near as we can to the 3 million ticket sales, we have to engage with football clubs because they are the only ones who are going to give us the capacity to drive those numbers," Young said.
Tuesday will mark the three-years-to-go stage for organizers, who have recently brought in Debbie Jevans -- a key player in the delivery of the Olympics and Paralympics in London -- as chief executive.
Replicating the feel-good factor that surrounded the London Games is a key part of the World Cup organizers' overall strategy.
"We are conscious that there has been an amazing event that has happened in London in the Olympics. Everyone is having withdrawal symptoms," newly appointed IRB chief executive Brett Gosper said. "It really did capture the hearts and minds of this country and cross the world. Everyone was in awe of what happened ... it's putting the right kind of pressure on us."
The buildup to the World Cup will start in earnest in early December when the pool allocation draw and match schedule is announced. Seedings are only finalized after the autumn test matches, which will see New Zealand, Australia and South Africa head over to Europe for matches against the northern hemisphere's best.