• Priority ballot application phase open from 19 May to 26 June
  • Local and international fans can sign up now to enter priority ballot
  • Over 1.5 million ticket applications received to date

With a little under 500 days to go until Rugby World Cup 2019 kicks off in Japan, the tournament has captured the imagination of domestic and international fans alike, with public tickets, supporter tours and hospitality sales programmes generating strong demand.

Excitement surrounding Asia’s first Rugby World Cup has been converted into more than 1.5 million ticket applications with demand exceeding supply for the number of tickets available during the initial team and stadium pack, rugby family, rugby friends and host city priority application phases.

With tournament organisers Japan Rugby 2019 targeting a total of 1.8 million ticket sales through all programmes, the next major dates for fans to be aware of is the Front Row/Supporters’ Club priority ballot application phase beginning at 02:00 (GMT+1) on 19 May to 15:59 (GMT+1) on 26 June.

Fans who are not yet a member are being urged not to miss out by signing-up via www.rugbyworldcup.com/supporters and creating a ticket registration account at www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets. There is exceptional demand for Japan matches and the knock-out rounds, so fans should check the colour-coded demand indicator on the ticketing website to see which matches offer the best-possible chance to access the showcase event.

The ballot phase is not a first come, first served scenario, applications made at any time during the window will have equal chances of success. Once the window closes, a ballot will be run and all applicants will receive communication from the Japan Rugby 2019 organising committee at the end of the month. Rugby World Cup 2019 Worldwide Partner Mastercard is offering fans who apply for tickets using their Mastercard the chance to receive a double entry in the ticketing ballot.

With Japan proving the place to be in September, October and November 2019, demand for official supporter tour packages through the 21 global official travel agents has been so strong that STH Group Ltd is increasing its sales forecast by 20 per cent with an estimated 40,000 fans purchasing a range of ticket-inclusive travel packages. Further information can be found at www.rugbyworldcup.com/supportertours.

Hospitality sales are also tracking well ahead of previous Rugby World Cups with more than 6,000 registrations to date, while the www.rugbyworldcup.com/hospitality web page has attracted more than 500,000 page views since sales launched in February.

The most popular matches include those involving Japan, New Zealand, England, France and South Africa. Demand is so strong for the flagship Webb Ellis Suites experience at the International Stadium, Yokohama, that there is a waiting list.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby World Cup 2019 promises to be a very special experience for domestic and international fans alike. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and excitement is certainly translating into demand for tickets, which has been exceptional.

“Our message to fans is not to miss out. There are a range of ways to be part of Asia’s first Rugby World Cup from public ticket sales, the official supporter tours and hospitality programmes and anyone interested in attending should visit www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets for more information.”

STH Group Chief Executive Officer Simon Jefford added: “Five hundred days to go marks an exciting milestone on the road to Rugby World Cup 2019, and from the interest we’ve seen across both the Official Hospitality and Official Supporter Tours programmes it’s clear that rugby fans from around the world want to be part of this historic sporting event. The tournament in Japan is going to be a true once in a lifetime event and we are looking forward to providing spectators with the ultimate hospitality and travel experiences.”

Fans are advised to check out authorised ticket providers at www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets before purchasing via the official channels.