USA Rugby, the national governing body for the sport of rugby in the United States, today announced a ground-breaking new partnership with the global leader in sports, fashion and media, IMG.
The 10-year agreement with IMG will focus on the branding and marketing of USA Rugby's Collegiate National Championship weekend as well as USA Rugby's College 7s National Championship. While USA Rugby has been pleased with the recent improvements in competition, live stream production, and host venues for the Men's D1A and Division I-AA Championships, as well as Women's DI and DII Championships, aligning with IMG will further the positive growth and exposure of these events.
"USA Rugby and IMG will make a powerful team in transforming our National Championships into the ultimate competition in the United States for college rugby," said USA Rugby Collegiate Director Rich Cortez. "IMG's association with the development of major athletic events speaks volumes of the strategic direction and possibilities of college rugby in America."
With more than 50 years of experience in growing global audiences, IMG's expertise in the promotion and marketing of sports and entertainment, as well as the organisation's strong relationships with universities, and sponsors, will benefit the entire college rugby landscape. Additionally, IMG has pre-existing expertise in rugby, having been the exclusive commercial representative for the IRB Rugby World Cup since 1995, managing sponsorship, commercial ticketing, television rights distribution, and licensing for the tournament.
"IMG is thrilled to form a long-term relationship with USA Rugby," stated IMG Senior Vice President Jay Ogden. "Our global footprint and knowledge of event and commercial management will help strengthen USA Rugby's presence in the U.S. and ensure student-athletes enjoy the highest level of competition."
The collaborative marketing and promotion of USA Rugby's College National Championships will begin immediately, and will aim to positively enhance both the Men's and Women's 15s and 7s National Championships beginning in the spring of 2015.
"We are delighted that IMG chose to support rugby at this important and exciting time for the game," said USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville. "Combining these strengths will enable us to build a superb National Championship competition in both 7s and 15s – National Championships that are open to all and where the best programs each year can compete for the honour of being crowned National Champions. While there have been collegiate rugby postseasons played outside of USA Rugby's official Championships in recent years, we are confident that teaming with IMG to create a single, recognised Championship for each competitive division is the best way to enhance the sport in America."