Hosting the Rugby League World Cup in the city could help drive Sheffield Eagles to success both on and off the field, the club's general manager has claimed.
Sheffield submitted its final bid to the competition’s organisers last month in the hope of convincing them the city should be given a taste of the 2021 tournament. Bramall Lane.
The joint bid from Sheffield Council, Sheffield United, SIV and Sheffield Eagles means the world's top teams could play at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane when the World Cup comes to England between October 23 and November 27, 2021.
Liam Claffey, Sheffield Eagles’ general manager, said he hoped the event could lead to drawing in crowds back to the club after being forced to play out of Sheffield for four years.
He said: “It could be massive for us. Our role in it is the development of rugby league building up to the event and to make sure there is a legacy afterwards.
“Being out of the city for four years, our support has not ceased to exist but it’s diminished considerably. But if we get a massive game at Brammall Lane, the knock-on effect would be immense.
“To have 32,000 people watching rugby league would be amazing.”
Mr Claffey said moving out of the city following the demolition of the Don Valley Stadium saw average crowds drop to around 350 compared to around 700 this season back in Sheffield at the Olympic Legacy Park.
He added: “We’ve had a lot of people come back and our aim is to get back to where we were when we were at Don Valley and had average crowds of around 1,500.
“We want to continue to move this club forward because because there have been some precarious days in the past.”
The tournament will be the first time the men’s, ladies and wheelchair competitions will be held at the same time and the men’s games will be broadcast live on BBC television.
Officials will now make site visits to assess Sheffield's facilities, ahead of a final decision in January next year.