World Rugby has appointed IMG to manage the global licensing and merchandising rights for the next two Rugby World Cups.
The long-term partnership encompasses the Rugby World Cup 2019 and 2023 as a primary focus, as well as the Women’s Rugby World Cup, World Cup U20 Championship and the World Rugby brand.
The Rugby World Cup has consistently grown in size, coverage and scope since the inaugural event took place in 1987, and is set to break new frontiers as it makes its Asian debut in Japan in 2019.
World Rugby chief executive, Brett Gosper, said: “The global licensing programme plays an important role in fan engagement, enabling fans of all ages to connect to World Rugby through our major properties.
“With Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan rapidly approaching, we are delighted to b partnering with IMG to deliver an exciting attractive range of products for fans of all ages, from official apparel and merchandise to electronic games.”
Bruno Maglione, president of IMG’s licensing division, added: “We are pleased to take part in the amazing story that is the growth of this tournament and the sport of rugby in general.
“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 programme will be anchored in both Europe and Japan and feature a great range of products for spectators and fans of all ages.”
IMG will target both core category and creative licensees to design, produce and distribute ranges of apparel, fan, lifestyle and leisure products to be sold in the host market and leading international markets.
IMG will also be working on the development of permanent specialty lines under the World Rugby brand, a Hall of Fame memorabilia programme and electronic and mobile games.