World Rugby’s mission to create a stronger bond with existing fans and players and reach out to inspire new audiences around the world is reflected in the launch of an innovative and integrated suite of digital and social media platforms.
Alongside the World Rugby rebrand, the international federation has delivered a new responsive site, streamlined its social media offering and launched a new geographically agile Rugby World Cup mobile app as part of a fully integrated approach aimed at increasing the reach of World Rugby’s flagship events and educational programmes.
Central to the programme is the www.worldrugby.org website, which integrates the federation’s social media and video platforms to provide a more agile and interactive approach to promoting rugby and bringing fans closer to its leading events.
Designed and built by digital and social sports specialists Pulselive, the new World Rugby platform delivers clear navigation and innovative functionality to educate new and existing audiences on all aspects of the game, from the World Rugby TV hub and the interactive tournament section to Get Into Rugby, Play Rugby and player welfare.
Another significant enhancement for both fans and media is a new dynamic match centre keeping worldwide fans close to the action with results and key moments from all international rugby matches. Tournament sites for the HSBC Sevens World Series and World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series bring dynamic minute-by-minute action and live streaming from each event, while the Rugby World Cup platform has undergone a refresh.
Phase two of the new digital platform will include delivering websites in multiple languages including Japanese, French and Spanish.
At the heart of the fan engagement strategy is a new, streamlined social media approach with World Rugby’s YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram accounts bringing fans closer to the action.
World Rugby will be working with these platforms and leveraging Pulselive’s official partnerships with Twitter and Facebook to bring engaging social media initiatives that cross digital and broadcast, to deliver the most social Rugby World Cup to date.
The integrated approach is already proving a hit with World Rugby’s stakeholders and across all platforms the current total fan base is in excess of three million, with a weekly reach of more than 10 million and video views are exceeding six million each month.
Dom Kelly, World Rugby Digital Operations Manager, said: “Since its launch, the website has received favourable feedback from fans, media and member unions who appreciate the simple navigation across the sites as well as the additional features and functionality that helps them get closer to the action as well as find out more about the sport.
“We delivered live streaming from the Dubai and South Africa rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series earlier this month, complemented by live commentary and social interaction within the live blog and live images direct from the event. This is a real step up in the delivery of our content across multiple platforms and allows us to showcase World Rugby’s key events throughout the world.”
The official Rugby World Cup 2015 app, delivered by leading fan engagement specialist Omnigon, has also been launched and is available free of charge via the iTunes app store and Google Play store.
Building on the success of the Rugby World Cup 2011 app, which was downloaded 3.5 million times, the 2015 version will be geographically responsive and bring fans closer to the action on and off the field. The launch is the first step in a phased process that will culminate in a unique experience that connects fans in and around the stadia, fanzones or at home.
In 2015, the app will transition to the World Rugby app, which will bring fans closer to World Rugby, international results and statistics, World Rankings and its suite of training and education programmes.”
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “World Rugby is committed to building stronger bonds with existing rugby fans and reaching out, engaging and inspiring new audiences around the world.”
“At the heart of this strategy is our programme of fan engagement and sitting within a new brand, we are excited about our innovative and responsive platforms and their ability to bring everyone closer to the sport whether they are an avid or casual fan, a player, a coach or simply looking to find out more about rugby and World Rugby.”
“As World Rugby’s following continues to grow rapidly, we are working with market leaders in digital engagement to develop products for World Rugby and its commercial partners to connect with fans whether they are in stadia, in conversation or at home.”
Photo shows Emily Scarratt running for the try line during the World Cup 2014