London - A record number of tickets will be sold for this year's rugby union World Cup in England, the head of the sport's ruling body said on Wednesday.
The tournament will be the most viewed, best-attended World Cup ever, according to World Rugby.
"With six months to go, Rugby World Cup 2015 is in record-breaking shape and we are confident of a very special event that will capture the imagination on and off the field," said WR chairperson Bernard Lapasset.
"The event has captured the imagination like no other and demand for tickets has been unprecedented," he added.
There are 2.3 million tickets for the 48 matches from September 18 to October 31 and more than 170,000 have already been sold within official packages and was on target to beat the 184,000 sold for France in 2007.
Organisers said some 500 000 foreign fans are expected to visit England during the event, which will also be broadcast in 207 countries and territories.
The matches are to be played at 13 venues, with 12 in English cities while Cardiff's Millennium Stadium will also be used, including for two quarter finals.
Lapasset said the World Cup was "underwriting 330 million ($485 million) of investment in rugby by 2016."
More than 150 million was invested in the game from 2009 to 2012 using money earned from the World Cups in France and New Zealand. More than 180 million has been projected between 2013 and 2016.
World Rugby is launching a drive to get one million extra players in the sport across Europe.