IMG will also focus on the Women’s Rugby World Cup, World Rugby U20 Championship and the World Rugby brand.
GLOBAL–World Rugby has appointed IMG to manage its global licensing and merchandising program for the next two Rugby World Cups and additional tournaments.
Rugby World Cup 2019 and 2023 will serve as IMG’s primary focus, as will the Women’s Rugby World Cup, World Rugby U20 Championship and the World Rugby brand.
Through the representation agreement, IMG will target both core category and creative licensees to design, produce and distribute lines of apparel, fan, lifestyle and leisure products, which will be sold in the host market and leading international markets.
In addition to Rugby World Cup and other tournament programs, IMG will work on developing permanent specialty lines under the World Rugby brand, a Hall of Fame memorabilia program and electronic and mobile games. IMG’s offices in London, Paris and Tokyo will also develop an extensive licensing program that will aim to capture the excitement of the tournament’s first Asian edition.
“The global licensing program plays an important role in fan engagement, enabling fans of all ages to connect to World Rugby through our major properties,” says Brett Gosper, chief executive, World Rugby. “With Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan rapidly approaching, we are delighted to be partnering with IMG to deliver an exciting and attractive range of products for fans of all ages, from official apparel and merchandise to electronic games.”
Since its inaugural event in 1987, the Rugby World Cup has consistently grown in size, coverage and scope. The last Rugby World Cup event, which took place in 2015 in England, was the most watched, best-attended and digitally-consumed rugby event of all time, according to World Rugby. The Rugby World Cup is also set to expand its horizons with its debut in Asia in 2019, which is expected to create new opportunities for the sport by opening up the game to new markets, ideas and participants.
“We are pleased to take part in the amazing story that is the growth of this tournament and the sport of rugby in general,” says Bruno Maglione, president, licensing, IMG. “Audiences across more and more countries are taking note of rugby’s constant action, athleticism and competitiveness, and the Rugby World Cup is the sport’s pinnacle global tournament. Our licensing program will be anchored in both Europe and Japan and feature a great range of products for spectators and fans of all ages.”