Synnott joins World Rugby at an exciting time for the sport following Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan which broke broadcast records with more than 857 million people around the world watching the action – a 28 per cent increase from the previous tournament, making it the most-watched rugby event ever – and digital and social media views of more than two billion.
The integral position will further in-house expertise within the international federation to maximise the value of World Rugby’s properties globally. Emerging rugby markets such as USA, Brazil, India and Germany have been the driving force behind a recent growth in the sport’s global fanbase and Synnott will be responsible for developing strategies that will further audience and value growth in such markets.
Synnott began his career as a lawyer and acquired considerable experience in licensing, copyright, intellectual property and sports media management, providing him with a clear understanding of how the media rights business is structured.
After 10 years of legal practice, Synnott moved to T.E.A.M Marketing as Head of TV and Commercial Affairs where he made a direct and immediate impact, implementing a new global sales process for the distribution and sales of both UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League media rights. He later moved on to the Sportsman Media Group as Director of Media Rights where he was involved in international acquisition, sales, and distribution of a wide variety of sports media rights programming.
Before joining World Rugby, Synnott led the media rights department of WRC Promoter GmbH in the global sales, distribution, and exploitation of the FIA World Rally Championship across all media platforms.
Synnott brings a wealth of experience in creating distribution strategies that serve to sell broadcast and media rights in major events properties, as well as his wide network of stakeholders in the sports broadcast, commercial and legal spheres, and will report to World Rugby Chief Commercial Officer Tom Hill.
Hill said: “Chris’s excellent track record in media rights sales and distribution combined with his intimate knowledge of sports rights contracts and global media trends are well aligned with our ambition to maximise reach and revenue from World Rugby’s properties.
“His experience working on major sports events across international territories will be an asset to develop and execute a successful strategy, providing a profitable and long-term revenue stream for the sport and encouraging growth in interest and participation in both emerging and established rugby nations.”
Synnott added: “I am thrilled to be joining World Rugby at such an exciting time for the sport following on from the outstanding commercial success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan. Rugby is a sport I am passionate about and I look forward to playing a part in its continued commercial growth as well as contributing to its development in emerging markets across both the men’s and women’s competitions.”