Figures released as part of a study by Mastercard have revealed that this year's RBS Six Nations tournament had an economic impact of US$632.81 million for the six competing nations: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy.
England received the largest economic boost from the tournament, with a total of US$132.82 million spent by fans on match tickets, transport, food and beverage sales, accommodation, merchandising, and at city attractions, and by sponsors on marketing. The championships generated US$123.06 million of revenue in Ireland, US$122.10 million in France, US$109 million in Wales and US$94.56 million. Italy saw a US$51.27 million windfall from its participation.
A previous study released by RBS showed that the 2008 tournament produced $593.99 million for the six countries - which would indicate that the popularity of top-level international rugby has weathered the recent economic storm in Europe.
Dr Anna Semens is a research fellow at the Centre for the International Business of Sport, which conducted the survey as part of an ongoing study into the worldwide economic impact of the game. She said: "Though rugby was hit by the downturn in line with the rest of sport, all signs suggest that it is recovering strongly and continues to be one of the Northern hemisphere’s top sports properties, attracting high attendances and TV viewing figures, as well as managing to attract new fans to the sport through offering different formats of the game which have a broad appeal across all sectors of the community."
Other figures released showed that England could have sold out its 82,000 capacity Twickenham stadium twice over for each of its two home games, and that the Friday evening trial match continues to be a popular addition to the schedule. An estimated 10.5 million viewers across the competing territories watched Wales take on eventual champions France at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Friday 26th February, the second highest audience of the tournament after the 15 million who watched France clinch the Grand Slam against England on the final weekend.