In the wake of the most successful Rugby World Cup ever, club rugby remains at a crossroads.
While RWC 2015 has created massive traction for the sport at all levels in all territories, the question facing professional clubs is how best to build on this momentum; how can clubs develop as stable businesses which are structured, staffed and financed to grow the fan base, build TV audiences and increase revenues from ticketing, sponsorship and media activities within the structure of a game dominated by international commitments?
THURSDAY 26th NOVEMBER – DAY ONE
10.15 – 10.45 OPENING KEYNOTE – BUILDING CLUB BRAND AND VALUE IN AN ULTRA-COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT
Rugby faces a number of commercial challenges and creating the right long term strategies and plans to maximise the commerciality of the sport is the permanent challenge faced by leagues, clubs and rights owners from around the globe. Michael Payne, whose CV boasts leading the commercial and sponsorship strategy that took the IOC from bankruptcy to a multibillion $ brand and acting as Special Advisor to Bernie Ecclestone will kick start this year's Rugby Expo as he uses his experiences from a range of international sports to share his views on creating a more commercially successful future for rugby.
11.30 – 12.30 PLENARY 2: VISION 2023
Eight years on from RWC 2015 where will club rugby be? The panel considers the range of issues which will shape the ultimate success of club rugby as a sustainable sports entertainment product including:
- Stadia development and ownership
- Financing strategies for club expansion
- International club competitions
- Developing new territories for clubs and the sport
- Creating a global rugby calendar
14.00 – 14.45 PLENARY 3: TICKETING BEST PRACTICE ACROSS THE BOARD
Led by CEO of the Ticketing Institute and ticketing industry heavyweight Andrew Thomas, the session will focus on best practice examples of how to increase ticket sales and fan engagement from a range of operators from inside and outside sport that highlight what can be achieved through creativity, originality, the correct use of supporting technology and a thorough understanding your audience and target market. Andrew will be joined on the main stage by Derek Palmer, International MD of Tickets.com and senior representatives from professional sport.
15.00 – 15.30 PLENARY 4: MAJOR LEAGUE SOLUTIONS
Major League Soccer is winning fans , media coverage and sponsor dollars in the world's most competitive sports marketplace despite a standing start a little over 20 years ago. Our panellists consider similarities between the challenges faced by MLS and professional club rugby in their efforts to build share of market and mind and ask what lessons can be learned from the US experience.
16.15 – 1700 PLENARY 5: REVENUE – THE DIGITAL DIMENSION
Digital technology has transformed clubs' ability to engage with fans 24/7 inside and beyond the stadium. Our panel looks at the impact of digital on the fan experience and considers how new levels of connectivity are enhancing marketing and opening up fresh revenue streams.
Day two schedule to be announced shortly.