World Rugby inks ‘transformative’ Mastercard collaboration

World Rugby has agreed a ‘ground-breaking’ five-year collaboration with multinational financial services firm Mastercard to accelerate the development of its Women in Rugby 2017-2025 strategic plan.

As a result, Mastercard has secured a ‘transformative’ triple sponsorship deal, becoming the founding global partner of World Rugby’s Women in Rugby programme, the first worldwide partner for the Rugby World Cup 2021 and Rugby World Cup 2025, and the first global partner of WXV, the annual global women’s competition launching in 2023.

In addition, Mastercard will serve as the exclusive partner of the Youth Unstoppables element of the Team Powered campaign to inspire young women and girls to get involved in the sport through a unique digital content series.

World Rugby Chief Executive, Alan Gilpin, explained: “Women’s rugby is going from strength to strength globally, and the new Team Powered campaign and Mastercard partnership will supercharge the sport’s growth, inspiring a new generation of players, fans and parents.

“Team Powered showcases the unique values, diversity and inclusivity of women’s rugby and will encourage more women and girls to get involved in the sport, on and off the pitch. Our new commercial partnership reflects our ambitious plans to advance women in rugby at all levels and, as a long-standing supporter of rugby, Mastercard is a perfect fit. Our vision for the sport is very much aligned with a focus on accelerating accessibility, visibility, commerciality, and competition within women’s rugby – the single-biggest opportunity to grow the sport as a whole globally.”

A long-time supporter of World Rugby, the deal builds on the existing relationship between Mastercard and the rugby union governing body.

Namely, Mastercard has enjoyed a successful partnership with the Rugby World Cup since 2008 and the women’s Rugby World Cup since 2017.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mastercard on board as our founding partner of Women in Rugby,” added Katie Sadleir, World Rugby Women’s Rugby General Manager. “A core pillar of our ambitious Women’s Strategic Plan is to develop a strong and engaged portfolio of strategic commercial partners committed to long-term investment and support for the women’s game.

“I am also very excited by our new Team Powered marketing campaign, which encompasses all the incredible features of women’s rugby and will help us to build on the huge growing number of females involved in our sport in recent years.”  

Mastercard will also leverage its Priceless platform to curate unique experiences with World Rugby and brand ambassadors and the development of rugby-specific content, aligning with its signature STEM curriculum, ‘Girls4Tech’.

Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, said: “Fostering connections and giving people the opportunity to grow their passions is what Mastercard stands for. We are honoured to support a sport as inclusive as women’s rugby that has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. Together with World Rugby, we look forward to creating programmes and experiences that get people closer to the game they love.”

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