The organisers of Rugby World Cup 2011 have posted a tournament-end loss 20 per cent better than forecast, capping off a successful event that exceeded all expectations.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 today announced a loss of $31.3 million from staging the seventh Rugby World Cup, which is $8 million lower than forecast.

Under the original shareholding arrangement, two-thirds of any loss was to be covered by the Government, one-third by the NZRU but NZRU's share of the loss was subsequently capped at $10 million.

"This is a very satisfying way to wrap up the tournament," RNZ 2011 chairman Brian Roche said. "Very few global sporting events ever come in on budget. RWC 2011 was an extremely challenging event to deliver, of a scale and complexity never staged in this country so to deliver a significantly better than expected result is an extraordinary achievement.

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"We were resolute in our drive to contain costs and achieve our ticket sales target despite the challenging environment we found ourselves in so this result is a real tribute to the team at RNZ 2011."

Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully said the result capped off an already hugely successful event.

"Without a doubt, RWC 2011 will generate significant economic benefits for this country for many years to come," he said. "We welcomed 133,000 visitors to our shores and we were superb hosts for a great six-week celebration. The huge television audiences and extensive media coverage generated by the tournament boosted our international profile.

"We also forged valuable new business partnerships and showed the world we are a smart and innovative economy capable of delivering major global events.

"We made the most of being in the world's spotlight, so this result really is the icing on the cake."

New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Mike Eagle said the result was further proof of how well New Zealand had done in delivering on the promises made in Dublin in November 2005 when the NZRU won the bid to host RWC 2011.

"Few global sporting events have had to contend with so much. We were thrown the very worst of challenges - the global financial crisis coupled with the tragedy of the Canterbury earthquakes which forced us to shift seven matches less than six months from kick-off.

"Through it all our Stadium of Four Million stuck with us and turned the tournament into a really unifying experience. So to deliver it well under budget is truly amazing."

The NZRU invested $10 million in RNZ 2011 and $10 million in the redevelopment of Eden Park.

"From a rugby perspective, our investment in RWC 2011 is certainly paying off. We are seeing encouraging early signs that player registrations are up on last year and the strong gates and TV audiences we are seeing for Super Rugby are partly a spin-off from the wonderful atmosphere and exciting rugby we saw last year."

Tournament facts

133,000 fans visited from over 100 countries

1.35 million fans attended 48 matches

Biggest ticketing event ever in New Zealand - 11 times the 2005 British & Irish Lions Tour

Venues were at 87 per cent capacity on average

Global cumulative television audience of 3.9 billion

Broadcast in 207 territories

Screened live for the first time in USA

98 per cent market share in New Zealand for RWC 2011 Final

All-time record pay TV audience in Australia

73 per cent of French population watched at least 15 minutes