As the countdown continues to Rugby World Cup 2021, New Zealand’s leading sports media and influential figures from ‘The Big Four’ global sporting events – Rugby World Cup 2021, the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, IWG World Conference on Women & Sport and the FIFA Women’s World Cup – gathered together at Eden Park last week to discuss what will be a momentous year for women’s sport.
Hosted by former Black Fern, Melodie Robinson, the event featured Michelle Hooper, Tournament Director for Rugby World Cup 2021; Andrea Nelson, CEO at ICC Women's Cricket World Cup; Jane Patterson, COO at FIFA Women’s World Cup and Rachel Froggatt, Secretary General for the eighth IWG World Conference on Women & Sport, and was an opportunity for each organisation to share an update on their plans and build excitement towards the events which start with the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in March.
It is the first time in the history of women’s sport that all three global tournaments will take place consecutively in the same country and the first time a women’s edition of Rugby World Cup has been hosted in the Southern Hemisphere.
Michelle Hooper spoke to 100 guests on the opportunity to galvanise the sporting community in support of women’s sport and to recognise and celebrate the many incredible female athletes competing and their power to inspire the next generation.
Hooper also reiterated the goal to break the world record for attendance at a women’s rugby game at the opening match on 8th October, 2021 at Eden Park and how that will set a new precedent for women’s sport.
Insight was shared insight into the off-field plans for Rugby World Cup 2021 and ambitions to create a vibrant festival atmosphere at each of the three venues – Eden Park, Northland Events Centre and Waitakere Stadium – celebrating Māori and Pasifika culture and entertaining fans with triple and double-header matches throughout the tournament.
Speaking at the event, Michelle Hooper, Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director, Michelle Hooper, said: “These athletes have given so much to the sport and we are determined to give them a Rugby World Cup they deserve. We’ve spoken about our goal to break the world record for attendance at the opening match, but that’s just the beginning. We want our tournament to show the world the value of women’s rugby and leave a legacy that lasts well beyond the final whistle.”
Together, ‘The Big Four’ issued a challenge to the New Zealand sporting community to make women’s sport the #MainEvent next year, harnessing the opportunity to make powerful and lasting change for women and girls at all levels. The challenge calls on everyone to take action in their own way and share their participation using the hashtag #MainEvent.
Tickets for Rugby World Cup 2021 are available now via the official ticketing website which can be found here.