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Rugby to benefit from 2010 World Cup

The billions of dollars South Africa has spent building and renovating 10 stadiums for the soccer World Cup may end up benefiting another sport: rugby.

Soccer is the most popular sport in South Africa but the white-middle class supports rugby and cricket. The country’s economic divide between a mainly poor black majority and a predominantly white wealthy elite may dictate their future use of the World Cup stadiums.

“The problem with soccer in South Africa is that it is not a high-paying spectator sport or a high sponsor-attracting sport,” said Jean-Francois Mercier, an economist at Citigroup Inc. in Johannesburg. “Rugby is. Using some of these stadiums for rugby matches could help” cover running costs.

Tickets to a May 27 soccer friendly between South Africa and Colombia at Soccer City sold for 40 rand ($5). Tickets for a June 12 clash between the South Africa's rugby team, the Springboks, and France ranged between 100 rand ($12) and 400 rand ($52). Maintaining the 10 World Cup stadiums could cost between 350 million rand ($45 million) and 500 million rand ($65 million) a year, said Udesh Pillay, co-author of “Development and Dreams: The Urban Legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.”

Read the whole story at Bloomberg »

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