World Cup CEO admits that ticketing expectations were too high & has say on whether he will replace Ralph Rimmer at the RFL

Now that the Rugby League World Cup has nearly concluded, there is a sense of reflection looking back on the success of the tournament.

That is no different for Chief Executive of the tournament Jon Dutton who looked back on the tournament when speaking to BBC 5 Live’s Rugby League World Cup podcast.

“Yeah I am a bit emotional,” he admitted, “It has been a long journey hasn’t it and it’s been seven years in the making.

“We have delivered 58 games and there’s three to go. There is a sense of elation, I’m really looking forward to the weekend, I think many people hoped we would have more England representation.”

When asked about the targets, Dutton acknowledged that the world changing meant that perhaps their ticketing ambitions were a little high but stated that around half a million tickets had been sold whilst the TV viewing figures have also been impressive.

He said: “I think when we started the journey the world was a different place. We have had to contend with a global pandemic and many postponements and other challenges, so perhaps some of our ambitions at the start, particularly around the ticketing targets, if we knew then what we know now we would maybe have lowered our expectations.

“Overall, we are really proud of what we have achieved, I think the viewing figures, 2.5 million peak audience for the England Samoa game, we have seen incredible tv audiences throughout.

“Half a million spectators have come through the turnstiles. The semi-final weekend was record-breaking and we have also had the biggest ever crowd in Sheffield.

“Lots of lesson learnt and we’re really proud of the experience.”

Dutton also stated that he had not thrown his hat into the ring for the RFL hot seat with Ralph Rimmer leaving the role.

He did however, reflect on running alongside Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield who is running seven ultramarathons in seven days to raise money in the fight against Motor Neurone Disease in the name of Rob Burrow.

On joining Sinfield, Dutton said: “What a privilege to run alongside Kev, an absolute privilege. What an incredible human being.”

Sinfield’s challenge will conclude tomorrow at the World Cup Final at Old Trafford.

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