IMG is Exclusive Broker and Manager of Broad Spectrum of Rights for the Event
At 8:00 p.m. September 9, 2011, Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2011 will officially open at Eden Park in Auckland, 24 years after the inaugural event closed in the same stadium with hosts New Zealand lifting the coveted Webb Ellis Cup. This year’s event will be comprised of 20 teams, a total of 48 matches across 12 venues, will take 45 days to complete, will be attended by some 2,100 accredited media, will consume 1,400 rugby balls and 80 tons of freight and will draw nearly 95,000 people to the country. It is one of the most important sporting events behind the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, Rugby’s biggest festival, the most sought-after crown, greatest attendance generator and television product, as well as the financial engine of the International Rugby Board (IRB), the governing body of the sport.
This year marks the seventh edition of RWC and for the fifth consecutive time IMG will act as exclusive brokers and commercial managers for the event. During IMG’s tenure in this role the event has grown across all indices such as television output and audience, spectator numbers, international travelers and most significantly, rights-related revenue. It is a unique property for IMG which sells and manages rights across licensing, travel & hospitality, sponsorship and all forms of broadcast. In addition, IMG is responsible for RWC’s brand program, all approvals (in excess of 12,000 for this Tournament), RWC’s rights protection program, as well as the dissemination of all tickets to the RWC stakeholder group. No other quadrennial event has charged a single company with managing such a broad spectrum of its rights. As a result of the strength of the relationship, last year IMG’s contract was extended to include RWC 2015 (England) and RWC 2019 (Japan).
IMG Media has generated 137 media rights licenses for RWC 2011. There are now just two countries on the entire planet where this RWC will not be televised. Highlight broadcasters include Sky NZ (host broadcasters), ITV (UK), TF1 (France), Fox and Nine (Australia), SuperSport (RSA and Africa), Sky Italia, ESPN Sur (Latin America), Showtime (ME), ESPN Star (Asia) and a ground-breaking deal with NBC/Universal (USA).
RWC now has nearly 1.5 million Facebook friends and the official app enjoyed nearly half a million downloads in its first week. A total of 250 million page impressions are predicted during the six-week event on the website at www.rugbyworldcup.com.
IMG successfully negotiated lucrative master-licenses to cover all Australasian licensing with Licensing in Motion (LIM) and the sale and fulfillment of all travel and hospitality packages with a purpose-made consortium called Rugby Travel and Hospitality (RTH NZ). Through LIM and IMG Licensing, RWC 2011 has a total of 60 licensees producing a range of products from art and baby-wear to green stone and pet accessories, and includes authentic gear by Canterbury (CCC) and Gilbert rugby balls. The official RWC computer game was produced by HB Studios and is available on Xbox and Play Station. RTH NZ’s have sold 100,000 tickets through a global network of 20 travel agents. They will entertain some 30,000 corporate guests in marquees, boxes and in-stadia function rooms.
18 Blue-chip brands across three-tiers make up the sponsor family. These include Emirates, MasterCard, Heineken, DHL, Societé Générale, Toshiba, BlackBerry, Land Rover, Microsoft, Tag Heuer, Coca-Cola and KPMG. Such is the interest in the RWC sponsor opportunity that three of these (Heineken, Societé Générale and Land Rover) have already signed up for RWC 2015.