Businesses and organisations are “fired up” to make the most of the opportunities when the Rugby World Cup kicks off later this year.
The town is a “host city” for the tournament – which runs from September 18 to October 31 – and is staging a series of attractions and initiatives for local people and for the thousands of visitors expected to visit the birthplace of the game.
Rob Back, of Rugby Borough Council, outlined the plans to more than 100 businesses at a meeting of the Coventry and Warwickshire Champions at the Macdonald Ansty Hall Hotel.
He was joined by Paul Smith, head of City Delivery at England Rugby 2015, who explained the national arrangements for the tournament which will see games played at 13 grounds across England and Wales, and bring an estimated economic impact of £2.2 billion to the country.
Les Ratcliffe, chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Place Board, which oversees the Champions programme, said: “I think the presentations underlined to everyone just how big the tournament is on a global scale – and also the potential it offers this region.
“It is clear that Rugby has been working hard locally and nationally to maximise its place in the sport’s history and certainly the businesses and organisations that were present at the meeting were fired up by what they heard.
“The Coventry and Warwickshire Place Board promotes the area with the aim of improving perceptions and driving investment, and this sort of activity will raise the county’s profile on an international scale.”
Rugby is creating a special FansZone in Old Market Place where the majority of games will be shown on big screens and family activities will be staged.
Nearly 50 schools and more than 2,000 pupils have taken part in an education programme.
The Rugby Pathway of Fame has been improved and there have been refurbishments to the town centre, which is also been dressed with Rugby World Cup marketing material. The Webb Ellis Trophy will also be in the town on August 16 and 17.
Ratcliffe added: “We hope that some of the businesses at the meeting – whether from Rugby or elsewhere – will take advantage and sample what should be a really good atmosphere in the town.”
The meeting also heard from Antonio Campanile, general manager of the Macdonald Ansty Hall Hotel.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Champions scheme unites businesses, organisations and individuals across the area in a powerful network to help develop and promote Coventry and Warwickshire. Champions are pro-active advocates for the area who want to help influence how the area is perceived and play an active role in raising its profile.