— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) November 15, 2017
PARIS, FRANCE – In just under two years, the 2023 Rugby Union World Cup will kick off in France and undoubtedly, South Africa will aim to make history and regain their crown. Every other nation will plan on usurping the Springboks so that they can write their names in the history books.
Yet, that isn’t the reason we should be excited about a tournament that is still months away. The fact is that, even at this early stage, the 2023 World Cup appears to be one of the most exciting rugby events in recent memory thanks to a variety of factors.
The Chasing Pack Edges Closer
As always, New Zealand will be the team to beat when the World Cup gets underway in France. Currently, they are the 2/1 favorites. However, the All Blacks have shown glimpses of weaknesses that weren’t evident in previous years, such as being soundly beaten by England in the semis of the last World Cup.
Of course, South Africa is a nation that can’t be underestimated – they are the world champions, after all – but beating New Zealand 31-29 in the final game of the Rugby Championship is another reminder of the country’s potential. England has an exciting squad, also, while France will be buoyed because they are the home side.
It’s not surprising that rugby union betting reflects this, with France, England and South Africa ranked at 3/1, 4/1 and 11/2, respectively. Whether New Zealand is weaker or the chasing pack is stronger doesn’t matter. What’s pertinent to the average fan is that any team can potentially cause an upset.
Facebook Is the Social Media Provider
Think what you want about Facebook and social media in general, yet you can’t deny the innovative nature of the sector. Technology exists today that wouldn’t if it weren’t for Silicon Valley companies pushing boundaries. So, the fact that Mark Zuckerberg’s company has acquired the social media rights for the competition is exciting.
Details are already emerging to suggest that the viewing experience will be heightened by 2023. For instance, several online activations will be rolled out, including AR filters and digital live events. This connection between supporters and social media should transform the way in which rugby fans consume the event because there will be more accessible elements than ever before.
If there is a VR component, which Facebook can provide, seeing as it owns Oculus, the 2023 World Cup will be incredibly engaging in new and innovative ways.
Qualification isn’t over yet, and the 14th spot at the Rugby World Cup has yet to be decided. The USA is on life-support after a stunning loss in Uruguay, while Canada was bounced by Chile. Team USA now faces Chile in a 2-game home/away series next summer. The loser will still have the repêchage tournament – but there will be solid teams in that.
For North Americans, the idea of the Americans and Canadians both being eliminated is beyond their worst nightmares. After all, the US market is the most lucrative, and supporting their players at a World Cup will encourage TV viewership and participation rates.
If the game gets richer and more powerful, everyone is a winner. At least fans of the USA and Chile still have multiple chances to book their plane tickets to Europe.
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