September 7, 2023 | Written by Giuliana Abate
In collaboration with the University of Bath in the UK, Mastercard presents the results of new research that reveals why rugby fans will grow by 10% by 2025
Dan Carter, Sebastien Chabal, Maggie Alfonsi, Safi Ndiaye, Brian Habana and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe join innovative athletes to celebrate 200 years of this exciting sport
Mastercard also unveiled The Future XV, a team of sports pioneers working to revolutionize the game of rugby globally. Among these is Martino Corazza
Milan, September 6, 2023 – Marking The bicentenary of the birth of rugby And the new edition of Rugby World Cup 2023 Which starts in France this week, Mastercard announces the results of new research titled 'The Future of Rugby'.which identifies five areas where rugby positively impacts society, covering topics such as inclusivity, health and wellbeing, education, fan experience and sustainability. MasterCardIn addition to, “Future XV”the new team of athletes from around the world who will revolutionize the future of this sport.
As can be seen from the report, it is estimated that The number of rugby fans will grow by 10% globally by 2025in line with a 17% increase in participation in the Rugby World Cup already this year. Moreover, for each trend with significant social impact, the research identifies a focus on the future, starting from virtuous examples that are making a difference at this historical moment. Key findings include:
- Comprehensiveness: It is estimated that by 2027, countries ranked in the top 10 in world rugby will organize national festivals or competitions that focus on the participation and inclusion of people with disabilities. Meanwhile, female participation levels have also reached an all-time high, with a total of 2.7 million female gamers worldwide, an increase of 28% compared to 2017.. Furthermore, there is strong growth in participation in wheelchair rugby, a sport that was born less than fifty years ago and is now spread across 40 countries..
- Health and wellness: Rugby players' associations and non-profit organizations are working together to promote the destigmatization of mental health, especially among men, through the game of rugby – using sport as a means of promoting better mental and physical health. Compared to 2021, rugby is already seen as a safer sport, with 10% of fans in emerging markets believing its safety has improved compared to the past..
- directions: Around the world, rugby is used as a tool to improve academic achievement and empowerment, especially among young people. However, the report highlights that there is a greater need for support even for small projects that are already making a big impact, such as UmRio in Brazil or the VUSA Rugby Academy in South Africa.
- Fan Experience: The Rugby World Cup's commitment to enhancing the sport's global importance among fans has seen interest in rugby in emerging countries increase by 32%, with two in three fans now rating the sport as more exciting.. The Mastercard study also identifies ideas to increase the importance of sport among fans, for example through live analysis in stadiums, the implementation of virtual reality technologies and the use of holograms of players.
- Sustainability: Rugby can also have a positive impact in the fight against climate change, with the World Rugby Union at the forefront, being one of the first international federations to sign the UN Convention on Climate Action in Sport and launching the Global Rugby 2030 Environmental Sustainability Plan. According to the research, it is estimated that That by 2027, 50% of clubs in elite competitions around the world will sign the UN Convention on Climate Action in Sport and commit to ambitious initiatives in this area.
The report, written by the world's leading rugby academics at the University of Bath, includes exclusive interviews with Brian Habana, Dan Carter, Maggie Alfonsi, Portia Woodman Wycliffe, Safi Ndiaye H Sebastian ChabalRugby legends and MasterCard ambassador. All of this is enriched with individual stories of people from around the world who are driving progress in the world of sports.
To further enhance the five development areas that are key to rugby's growth, Mastercard has formed a new team – “Future XV” – Made up of world-class players who are changing the future of sports.
This team of pioneers, selected with the support of the University of Bath and global sporting stars, embodies the positive changes already underway but will be fundamental to rugby's future growth, as well as enhancing activity for all levels of the game, from beginners to professionals, across the world.
Among these, we find for Italy Martino Corazzafounder of the International Mixed Ability Rugby Championship, where players with and without disabilities play traditional rugby as equal teammates, without the use of dedicated rules.
I Professor Keith Stokes, lead author of the report and specialist in rugby scienceHe declared: “The report and the Future We aim to build on this foundation to drive the sport forward for decades to come. This means that rugby continues to innovate to attract more people, demonstrate its positive impact on society and take the lead on hot topics. Guided by solidarity and respect, the core values of rugby, we hope this report serves A springboard to drive lasting and impactful change, including through rugby in the years to come..
Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, MastercardHe announced: “This year we celebrate 200 years of rugby, and on this occasion, it is important not only to look at the progress that has been made so far, but also to pause and reflect on the future and the coming centenaries of the game. As a sponsor of the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup, as well as initiatives “Like Women in Rugby, we recognize the tremendous engagement that rugby generates among fans and players alike. That's why Mastercard is proud to be part of the legacy of this great sport and to invest in rugby's bright future.”.
Alan Gilpin, World Rugby CEOI finish: “This year marks 200 years of rugby and this milestone is an important time for us to reflect, challenge and guide the pioneering spirit of the early days towards a bright future for our sport. From promoting diversity and inclusion to creating a sense of community, rugby has the power to Bringing people together and creating positive social change.” Mastercard’s exciting report titled “The Future of Rugby” not only highlights these aspects, but also shows that we have the passion and experience to continue to make great strides in shaping a better and better game than ever before. We know how to set a positive example.”.
 World Rugby Year in Review – Nielsen December 2022
 Rugby world – https://www.world.rugby/organisation/about-us/womens
 Canadian Paralympic Committee 2023 – https://paralympic.ca/paralympic-sports/wheelchair-rugby
 World Rugby Year in Review – Nielsen December 2022
 MasterCard Sports Economics Index 2023
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