Mastercard has entered into a five-year partnership with World Rugby in a deal that will see the brand work to raise the profile of the women's game globally.
Through the partnership Mastercard will deepen its connection to the sport. The brand has maintained partnerships with the men's Rugby World Cup since 2008, the women's Rugby World Cup since 2017 and Golden Lions Rugby Union amateur women's club league and senior women's team since 2020.
Talking about what sets this partnership apart, Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard's chief marketing and communications officer, felt the community focus of the programme would allow Mastercard to connect with consumers in a new way.
Rajamannar said: "There are different passion points for different people. There are fans of rugby, there are fans of soccer, there are fans of tennis. So in each one of these areas, we are trying to see what resonates best with the consumers, with the fans, and then try to bring those kinds of experiences and interactions to life.
"With this World Rugby programme we are for the first time in the rugby space, getting into the community in a big way and focused on women. This is something that we did not have before and we are really happy to be signing up for long-term commitments as partners.
"It's not just 'this is the hot topic, so let's latch on', we are committed, we are consistent and we are here for the long term. Rugby is a very important sport, and we have got a massive following in this space which has scale and is well worth the marketing efforts. We are expanding our reach but we are doing this across the board; this is the company's mission and purpose that's being brought to life."
Mastercard will be using its Priceless platform to curate unique experiences with World Rugby and brand ambassadors. It will also be developing rugby-specific content that reinforces the company's dedication to gender equity, aligning with its STEM curriculum 'Girls4Tech'.
The profile of the women's game globally will be raised through Mastercard's support of the governing body's strategic plan – Accelerating the Development of Women in Rugby 2017-25.
It will also become the first Worldwide Partner for Rugby World Cup 2021, Rugby World Cup 2025 and the first Global Partner of WXV, the annual global women's competition due to start in 2023.
In addition to the partnership announcement, World Rugby has also launched a Women in Rugby marketing campaign that aims to inspire more women and girls to play and watch rugby.
The spot called "Team powered" by DesignStudio showcases women's rugby as the ultimate team sport on and off the pitch. The film, created by Elise Santangelo-Rous and directed by Richard Gort through Whisper, shows how through the power of togetherness and strong unity, a team is greater than the sum of its parts.
Media is being handled by LiveWire Sport.