Rugby Union: The Future

Download Part 3 of 3 - The Future of Rugby

In the third of a three-part white paper series ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Nielsen Sports experts from around the world examine rugby’s commercial landscape. Part 3 looks beyond the tournament, to examine the game’s future. Also available are part 2, exploring global rugby sponsorship and part 1 dealing with fans and interest levels.

Rugby Union The future


Jon Stainer (England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland) 

Legacy is the big challenge – it was key to the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) successful World Cup bid. They’ve invested significant sums of money in the legacy programme – everything from coaching to participation to inclusivity. I think they’re pretty well equipped. There’s been a lot of knowledge transfer from London 2012 – a lot of the team moved over – and I think they’ll deliver a really good campaign, post-World Cup and through to 2019.

Marco Nazzari (Italy)

As with many other sports in Italy, the main obstacles to growth are connected with educational and scholastic programmes, which are often not focused on sport. There is not a concrete and uniform plan for the development of sports in education. It is generally left to private entities, which are not often able to provide many options because of lack of structure and resources. Rugby is facing all these issues, but the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) has understood the importance of structural programmes supporting the development of the sport amongst the younger generation.

Yoeri Geerits (Canada)

The major challenge in Canada is the ability to market the sport and event in a country that is dominated by hockey and Canadian Football League (CFL).



New Zealand’s All Blacks, crowned world champions on home turf four years ago, agreed to a five and half year deal with AIG in October 2012, which saw the insurance giant become a major global sponsor and official insurance partner of the team – including the historic jersey sponsorship rights.

“A jersey sponsorship offers a brand the ability to differentiate itself in a busy advertising and sponsorship environment and maintain visibility as ad-blocking technology grows,” explains Daniel Glantz, AIG’s Global Head of Sponsorship.

“Exposure goes well beyond a match or game, with the brand featuring in sports highlights videos and photographs in traditional and social media. Both AIG and the All Blacks have followed adversity with success, value tenacity, and are dedicated to being leaders in their fields,” Glantz adds. “Rugby is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, popular in markets where AIG is established, and growing in popularity in many of the same emerging markets AIG is focused on. As AIG and rugby both expand their reach, AIG and New Zealand Rugby both look forward to helping build awareness of rugby and the All Blacks brand in even more markets with fans around the world, which in turn opens up greater commercial opportunities for AIG and New Zealand Rugby.”

Read more about AIG sponsorship

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