Rugby Sponsorship: Key Areas of Growth

Discussion started by Sophie Morris , on Monday, 21 March 2016 15:43

We have seen a new sponsor come in for the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour. Standard Life Investments have seen the opportunity of the sport and the nature of the Lions team is a great fit for them, as it is with the Ryder cup, one of their other sponsorship properties.

Another area for growth is Japan, we saw the record breaking TV figures for their matches after that game-changing win over South Africa at the World Cup. They also have teams in Super Rugby and the game is thriving. This presents a great opportunity for brands wanting to target that market, and for domestic companies to show their support for their team. With Japan hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup it also opens up a whole new group of potential sponsors for World Rugby, as well as increasing their media value in Japan by at least 10 times from the 2015 World Cup

But who will be the next Japan? At a recent event Brett Gosper, of World Rugby, said that it's likely to be the USA and as the sport's governing body what can they do to help them achieve that. Gosper also said that it’s all about investment. The growth of the game needs ideas and investment at all levels from elite to grassroots and the whole rugby infrastructure of a country.

So the USA looks to be a key area of growth in rugby. It is already their fastest growing team sport, their first pro league has been set up and is due to start at the end of April this year. Investment at all levels will help to wake the ‘sleeping giant’ that is USA rugby. Clearly the national governing body needs investment to provide the infrastructure, the pro league needs investment to provide that elite development pathway, but investment is also needed to raise the profile of the sport amongst the general population in a country which dominates in NFL, NHL and the NBA.

There are opportunities for sponsors to contribute to the growth of interest in the game, as well as participation and therefore reap the benefits of that early support.

The US is also appealing from a global commercial point of view and so this is a good fit for sponsors who want to develop the game that they invest in.

Beyond the USA we continue to look to other new markets and areas of growth.


As we saw with Argentina’s World Cup performance, the dominance of the old powerhouses could be set to change, creating a rare opportunity for smart brands to get involved.



Where do you see key areas of growth coming from?

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