IMG strengthens rugby union ties with FFR licensing remit
IMG, the international sports and entertainment agency, has today been appointed by the FFR, the French rugby union, to be its exclusive global licensing representative until the end of 2024, a period that encompasses the 2023 Rugby World Cup on home soil.
IMG will be tasked with devising a licensing programme using the recently rebranded France Rugby logo and identity.
With the World Cup on the horizon, FFR will expect the agency to maximise global opportunities for supporters to engage with the national teams, grow the existing business and extend into new categories through fan merchandise, sporting accessories and rugby related products for men, women and children.
Bernard Laporte, president of the FFR, said: “We are pleased to be working with IMG to develop an ambitious licensing programme for FFR during the next four years. For decades now, our research has shown that French citizens believe rugby embodies strong values of solidarity, conviviality and respect. With France hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2023, there is a strong opportunity for us to extend our product offering for rugby fans both domestically and internationally.”
Mickael Andreo, vice-president of licensing, IMG, added: “The Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, the first ever held in Asia, was an outstanding success. The sport is currently in a great place, and with France now preparing to host the competition in 2023, we feel very privileged to work with the FFR – one of the most prestigious and respected National teams in the world. We believe there is a lot to build and are looking forward to taking this opportunity to the market.”
The FFR said that during the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, 19 million French fans followed the national team’s progress to the quarter-finals and, on average, France games attract more than 5 million TV viewers.
IMG managed the global licensing and merchandising rights for that World Cup in Japan and will do so again for France 2023 as part of a two tournament agreement with World Rugby, the sport's governing body.
Last October, IMG was reappointed as World Rugby’s exclusive commercial agency partner through to the 2023 World Cup in a deal that encompasses the sale of the tournament’s top-tier worldwide partner programme and overall commercial advisory services across the four-year cycle, as well as the delivery of rights for all sponsorship operations, brand services, licensing and merchandising management.
It has worked on the Rugby World Cup since the 1995 edition in South Africa.