Third largest?

Yesterday it was announced that Wellington would host two of the quarter-finals in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Here is the announcement from the Minister of Sport, Clayton Cosgrove (emphasis mine):

“In terms of hosting major global sporting events, Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2011 is like New Zealand’s ‘Olympics’.  It is the third largest sporting event in the world. An event of this scale and significance offers every city and town a rare opportunity to realise a wide range of benefits across the sport and business sectors, as well as the community.”

The third largest?  Really?

In the spirit of Wikipedia: citation needed.

Clearly the Olympics and the Football World Cup are #1 and #2.  But, it seems to me there are a lot of other more global sports that could claim third position ahead of rugby:

  • Football: European Champs or Champions League
  • Golf: The Ryder Cup (or any of the four majors)
  • Tennis: Wimbledon (or any of the four majors)
  • Cycling: The Tour de France
  • Basketball: World Champs or NBA Playoffs
  • Athletics: World Champs

What about the Commonwealth Games?  Surely that’s bigger?

What about the Superbowl?  Isn’t that the most watched sporting event?

What about the Winter Olympics?

Can you think of any others?

I guess it all depends how you measure it.

This post from the WSJs “number guy” is worth a read:

When It Comes to TV Stats, Viewer Discretion Is Advised

Either way, I’m sure it will be a big weekend in Wellington when the worlds largest sporting event involving teams of 15 people playing with an oval ball comes to town!


6 thoughts on “Third largest?”

  1. Some of those events are annual events so it is hard to compare. For example how can you compare the Masters golf with Rugby World Cup? But out of the major 4 yearly [sic] events I think the Winter Olympics and European Football Championships are clearly bigger events than the Rugby World Cup.

  2. Maybe he meant 3rd largest in _our_ world…

    …which is own two places after our efforts last year.

  3. I think he meant third largest sporting event in Oceania. Rugby is not a global sport so it does not even compare to other global sports. It’s only a few countries in the world that play rugby professionally.

  4. When the Cricket World Cup was played in the Caribbean, the ICC also claimed that it was the third-largest sporting event.

    I questioned that one also, as these sports are mostly played in the commonwealth (Patrick – India is a very good point though).

    I think it’s all in the definition — attendance vs. tv audience vs. # of national team. Everybody is using their own definitions to make a claim.

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