The International Rugby Board (IRB) will become ‘World Rugby’ from November 19, 2014, as part of a major rebranding programme.
Global Rugby participation has boomed by more than two million to 6.6 million players over the past four years, driven by the commercial success of Rugby World Cup, the IRB’s development strategies and record investment, strong and vibrant Unions and Rugby’s re-inclusion in the Olympic Games.
With Rugby aspiring to inspire and engage new audiences and players around the world, the rebrand reflects the organisation’s mission to build a stronger connection with fans, players and new audiences worldwide.
The rebrand will have no impact on Rugby World Cup 2015 branding or positioning, which will remain as it is, with the iconic logo running throughout the current event cycle.
IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset said:
Rugby continues to thrive, reach out and engage new audiences and participants in record numbers and the IRB has been at the heart of that growth.
We are committed to furthering that growth beyond our traditional family and fan base with a public that expects to be entertained, informed and interacted with. This move is more than just a name change, it is a mission statement.
IRB Chief Executive, Brett Gosper added:
In a crowded global entertainment and sporting marketplace, the role of the IRB has evolved from Game regulator to Game inspirer. With this we must continue to appeal to those who know and love the sport and its heritage, while attracting, engaging and inspiring those who have no connection with the sport across multiple cultures and languages around the world.
World Rugby collectively has the ingredients and tools to do just that. Rugby’s global appeal is founded and positioned on its unique character-building values and inclusive ethos and we want everyone to feel connected with the sport and Rugby’s ongoing success story.
World Rugby clearly aligns our name with our mission and allows us to organise new and existing consumer facing properties in a way that they will be more impactful and more appealing to the sport’s growing global fan base.