Mastercard seals ‘ground-breaking’ World Rugby tie-up

Multinational financial services firm Mastercard has inked a ‘transformative’ five-year partnership with World Rugby to strengthen the development of the women’s game.

Under the terms of the ‘ground-breaking’ arrangement, Mastercard has secured a triple sponsorship deal, becoming the founding global partner of World Rugby’s Women in Rugby programme, the first worldwide partner for the Rugby World Cup 2021 and Rugby World Cup 2025, and the first global partner of the new women’s competition, WXV.

In addition, Mastercard will serve as the exclusive partner of the Youth Unstoppables element of the Team Powered campaign to inspire young women and girls to get involved in the sport through a unique digital content series.

Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, said: “Fostering connections and giving people the opportunity to grow their passions is what Mastercard stands for. We are honoured to support a sport as inclusive as women’s rugby that has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. Together with World Rugby, we look forward to creating programmes and experiences that get people closer to the game they love.”

World Rugby Chief Executive, Alan Gilpin, explained: “Women’s rugby is going from strength to strength globally, and the new Team Powered campaign and Mastercard partnership will supercharge the sport’s growth, inspiring a new generation of players, fans and parents.

“Our new commercial partnership reflects our ambitious plans to advance women in rugby at all levels and, as a long-standing supporter of rugby, Mastercard is a perfect fit. Our vision for the sport is very much aligned with a focus on accelerating accessibility, visibility, commerciality, and competition within women’s rugby – the single-biggest opportunity to grow the sport as a whole globally.”

A long-time supporter of World Rugby, the deal builds on the existing relationship between Mastercard and the rugby union governing body. Namely, Mastercard has enjoyed a successful partnership with the Rugby World Cup since 2008 and the women’s Rugby World Cup since 2017.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mastercard on board as our founding partner of Women in Rugby,” added Katie Sadleir, World Rugby Women’s Rugby General Manager. “A core pillar of our ambitious Women’s Strategic Plan is to develop a strong and engaged portfolio of strategic commercial partners committed to long-term investment and support for the women’s game.

“I am also very excited by our new Team Powered marketing campaign, which encompasses all the incredible features of women’s rugby and will help us to build on the huge growing number of females involved in our sport in recent years.”  

Mastercard will also leverage its Priceless platform to curate unique experiences with World Rugby and brand ambassadors and the development of rugby-specific content, aligning with its signature STEM curriculum, ‘Girls4Tech’.