World Rugby has appointed Marissa Pace as Chief Marketing Officer.

Vastly experienced, with an in-depth knowledge of the global sports and major brand marketing environment, Pace will begin her new role as head of a newly-formed Marketing Department in mid-January. 

With rugby experiencing rapid global fan and participant growth, Pace will be responsible for the international federation’s fan-engagement and marketing strategies as the sport continues to reach and inspire new audiences in rapid-growth markets. 

Pace brings to World Rugby a wealth of sports marketing experience as a proven digital marketing innovator, having pioneered F1's first digital marketing strategy reporting directly to Bernie Ecclestone, which led to significant new revenue opportunities and growth for the business. She also drove FanVision Entertainment's digital marketing, B2B and B2C sales and international operations. Pace has also with major brands such as Coca-Cola and Club Med on agency accounts.  

Since 2015, Marissa has been running her own consultancy business supporting clients from sport, advertising and investment in London, New York, Montreal and Shanghai in the development of their digital and marketing strategies. 

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: "Marissa’s excellent track record in major brand, sport digital marketing strategy development and execution aligns perfectly with our continued mission to reach, attract and grow our audience, strengthen the relationship with our audience and optimise new revenue opportunities.

"Marissa is joining a strong management team at an exciting time for the sport and, in partnership with World Rugby’s Commercial and Communications departments and national member unions, we are collectively focused on ensuring that rugby is a major inspirer and innovator in a hugely competitive global sporting environment.”

Pace said: “I very much look forward to joining World Rugby at such an exciting time for the sport and the organisation. It is clear that rugby is perfectly positioned to grow its fan, participation and commercial footprint into new and emerging markets and I hope to boost this by adding my experience and knowledge of digital marketing, fan engagement and international sports growth. I feel privileged to join the talented team at World Rugby and together with unions and regions, I am excited to drive rugby as the sport of choice for young people around the world."

In parallel to the establishment of a new marketing department under Pace’s leadership, the World Rugby Communications department under Dominic Rumbles will be strengthened to support the needs of a growing and diverse rugby stakeholder, media and public affairs environment.

Marissa, who originally hails from Canada, is a passionate sports fan and played rugby at University.