The key stat proving why you should be targeting women’s rugby
The momentum in women’s rugby has picked up considerable pace over the last two years.
HSBC’s Future of Rugby report said that 500,000 new women were taking up the sport annually, making it one of the fastest growing sports in the UK. Even if this slows, 40% of Rugby Union players in the UK by 2026 will be women.
England Rugby has just released its training line-up for the Quilters International squad. All 36 players selected are world-class talents within the domestic rugby scene, currently playing in the Tyrrells Premier 15’s league – the direct pathway into British international rugby teams.
“The opportunity for brands to gain visibility and
connect with a loyal community of fans”
Developed by the RFU to raise the standards of domestic rugby, the league was designed to support the Red Roses’ ambition to reach number one in the world, a step up for the world’s #2 team.
Of the 36 players selected, 10 play in three unsponsored domestic teams, two with Worcester Valkyries (ranked #10), two with Wasps FC (#3) and six from Loughborough Lightning (#2). The remarkable opportunity for logos to appear front-of-shirt to an ever-growing audience remains untapped.
New research by Nielsen emphatically supports why brands should get involved on a broad scale, finding 80% of sports fans have an interest in women’s sports. In rugby there is evidence through engagement in the media and live events. In its 2016/17 Women and Girls Action Plan, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) revealed the World Cup final between GB and New Zealand, broadcast on ITV Saturday night prime time reached a peak audience of 2.65m, breaking all previous records.
“The male domination of rugby is gradually eroding,
bringing along valuable opportunities to brands”
The trend also relates to live events. Nielsen found that almost half (43%) of the general population across eight countries, including the UK, said they would consider attending a live women’s sport event, compared to 63% for a men’s event. During the Women’s Rugby World Cup, 45,412 people attended over 30 matches, with 17,115 attending the final. The impact of the tournament was evident even at grassroots level, with competitive girls’ fixtures rising by 139% post-tournament.
The opportunity for brands to gain visibility on the top teams’ shirts is one to connect with a loyal community of fans at a domestic level who are likely to watch multiple live games and rally behind their favourite players. As engagement in the game rises, so does the value of its players as ambassadors, opening opportunities to activate through role models and inspire future stars.
The male domination of rugby is gradually eroding, bringing along valuable opportunities a brand can capture. There’s a defined shift to channel more funding into women’s rugby and make training and playing easier, with the RFU recently announcing it would award 15 professional contracts to the best England women.
With the rare opportunity to make an impact at domestic level available, now is time to be part of the rise of the women’s game.
If you’re a brand looking to get involved with rugby, check out our latest sponsorship opportunities here.