Mastercard on board for fourth consecutive Rugby World Cup
Mastercard, the international credit card giant, has today renewed its long-standing deal as a top-tier worldwide partner of the Rugby World Cup for the 2023 edition in France.
It prolongs a partnership between the company and World Rugby, rugby union’s international governing body, which began in 2008 and covered the showpiece tournaments in New Zealand in 2011, England in 2015 and Japan in 2019.
Mastercard is the second worldwide partner on board for 2023, joining fellow long-time sponsor Société Générale, the France-based international bank, which extended its association with the event last October.
The sponsorship deal was brokered on behalf of World Rugby by IMG, the international sports and entertainment agency, which extended its contract with the federation in 2019 to secure worldwide partners for France 2023.
Octagon, another leading agency, was involved in the renewal negotiation process with Mastercard, a long-time client.
The global payments firm also works with Octagon to activate its Rugby World Cup sponsorship, which in recent editions has included the ‘Player of the Game’ awards.
Mastercard will again use the sponsorship to focus on fan engagement and fan experience at the World Cup, as well as offering its customers priority access to tickets, with sales for the 2023 tournament set to begin this year,
The company will also support the tournament in its efforts to be the most sustainable and impactful Rugby World Cup.
Tom Hill, World Rugby chief commercial officer, said: “Mastercard has been a long-standing supporter of our sport, being involved as a worldwide partner in all men’s Rugby World Cups over the last decade. Mastercard shares our ambitions to deliver a game-changing tournament, one that will set new standards in social responsibility, inclusion and sustainability for a major rugby event.”
World Rugby and IMG completed the top sponsorship programme for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in May 2017, 16 months before the tournament started, which was a record (beating the 2015 record by one month).
Mastercard and Société Générale were among six worldwide partners on board in Japan alongside DHL, the international logistics company, UK vehicle brand Land Rover, Dubai-based international airline Emirates and Dutch brewer Heineken Mastercard.
All six held the same roles in 2015, while all but Land Rover were worldwide partners for 2011, when the car company was an official sponsor.
In a recent interview with GlobalData Sport, Hill indicated there may be a new face for 2023, with World Rugby looking to attract more brands from non-traditional sectors to reflect the changing demographic in its fanbase and those who have been successful during the challenging financial climate brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
France 2023 organisers have already unveiled French media giant Vivendi, state-owned railway company SNCF, equipment rental firm Loxam, and GL Events, the event infrastructure company, as domestic sponsors for the competition.
Five others have been signed up and will be presented over the coming months, with revenue from the local deals approaching €60 million ($73.3 million).
Local organisers paid €34.5 million for the right to sell lower-tier sponsorship packages, and are working to a target of €70 million in revenue from this source.
The Rugby World Cup deal represents the second major sponsorship renewal in recent months for Mastercard after it extended its long-running association with the Uefa Champions League, European soccer’s top clubs competition, until the end of the 2023-24 season in a deal last October.