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Rugby World Cup 2023: “Saint-Denis will be the key stadium”

In three years, the finals of the Rugby World Cup 2023 are expected to begin around this time of year. This Monday afternoon, a contract for the provision of the Stade de France was signed. The organizers of France 2023 have made the largest enclosure in France (80,000 seats) the “key stadium” for the competition which will take place from September 8 to October 21.

Ten matches will take place there, including the opening match with the XV of France but also two quarter-finals, the two semi-finals as well as the small final and the final. “It’s still a long way off, but it gives us a formidable goal,” rejoice the general manager of the stadium, Alexandra Boutelier, and the general manager of France 2023, Claude Atcher.

The Stade de France is at the center of the organization?

CLAUDE ATCHER. It is the key stadium of the World Cup. It is obvious that we are going to schedule the most exciting and attractive matches there. We have planned that the French team will potentially play a second group game there. But if the draw on December 14 reserves an England-New Zealand, we also reserve the possibility of adapting.

ALEXANDRA BOUTELIER. This news makes us feel good. Stade de France was born world champion with footballers in 1998. The concession contract expires in 2025 and the history of this infrastructure is so unique that my deep conviction is to end this period with a new title world champion with the XV of France.

Can the Stade de France host three more matches compared to the 2007 Rugby World Cup?

ALEXANDRA BOUTELIER. In terms of organization, there will be no particular difficulty. So much progress is being made on the structure of lawns and their maintenance. We are serene with the hybrid lawns, now installed, all this will happen without any operational difficulty.

How France 2023 readjusted its budget after the pandemic?

CLAUDE ATCHER. A budget review was carried out in June 2020 to take into account the risks in terms of ticketing. Today, we do not know how buyers will react after the health crisis and whether their purchasing power will decrease. Expenses have been reduced. We have already reduced the price of tickets by 20% for categories 3 and 4 (Editor’s note: corresponding to less attractive matches) and we have reduced our forecast stadium filling targets from 94% to 90%. We are rather serene about the analysis made and the ability to bounce back.

When will the ticket office open?

CLAUDE ATCHER. We will have several sales phases. The one intended for the general public will open in September 2022. Between March 2021 and September 2022, we will have different sales phases associated either with types of product or with types of customers. In March, we will launch packages to follow a selection with for example the four matches of the France team or the four matches that will take place in Bordeaux.

How did Stade France experience this period?

ALEXANDRA BOUTELIER. It’s frustrating for an infrastructure made to accommodate 80,000 people and which accommodates 1,000 in the right evenings. But this occurs in an indisputable health context. We are not the most to be pitied in our sector. We know we’ll be fine and that’s important.

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