• World Rugby plans to launch programme of digital collectibles to engage fans and transform its commercial models
  • World Rugby seeks suppliers to co-developer a non-fungible token (NFT) programme

Innovation lies at the heart of World Rugby’s ongoing commitment to attracting new audiences to rugby globally while deepening connections with existing fans. 

Supporting that mission, World Rugby is delighted to announce that it has launched a Request for Information (RFI) process for interested parties to join its Digital Collectables journey, enabling the sport to reach and attract new audiences globally.

Underpinned by a secure blockchain network, digital collectables and experiences are at the heart of the fan-engagement revolution in entertainment and sport. Interested parties will develop a plan for the co-development of a non-fungible token (NFT) programme that will enable the sport to reach and attract new audiences through a fun, unique and immersive offering across the spectrum of collectables, fan tokens, trading cards and unique ownership of incredible men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup moments.

World Rugby is perfectly and uniquely placed to harness the power of its extensive, multi-lingual platforms and global digital footprint to deliver a truly immersive, fun and unique opportunity to get closer to the sport, its events and stars.

Through the RFI, which can be downloaded here, World Rugby aims to identify partners who share its vision for global growth, unlocking new revenue to be reinvested in the sport at all levels, while facilitating a deeper connection with the rugby family, particularly the next generation of participants and fans.

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “In line with our new strategic plan, we are looking to develop a deeper connection with the rugby family that stretches beyond our social and digital channels.

“We are really excited to be exploring new ways to provide fans with fun, immersive and unique opportunities to get even closer to the sport, including in the growth area of digital collectables. We regularly reach out to our fanbase to get their views. We have engaged. We have listened and we are acting.

“Digital collectables are the immediate future of sports fan engagement and are hugely successful across major US sports and growing in popularity on a global basis.

“We are perfectly positioned to join and lead the revolution in sport. As part of this RFI process, we want to unlock the potential of our vast men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups archives to enable fans to own a part of our sport’s history through a range of limited digital collectables, among other areas. We look forward to the responses to this process.”

World Rugby Chief Revenue and Fan Engagement Officer Richard Heaselgrave added: “We’ve put more emphasis than ever before on the role of digital products and services, and a greater strategic imperative around commercial performance to support the game’s biggest stakeholders, while building an authentic global community.

“We see new digital products as a key means to support the growth of the game at a critical point in rugby’s history and connect World Rugby with a new generation of fans.”

Interested parties have until 24 December, 2021 to submit responses.