The Rugby World Cup 2019 kicked off in Japan last week with the aim of being the most interactive rugby tournament ever. With a plan to engage with a whole new global audience using official bespoke content released across official social media channels and online platforms.
The success of the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England across digital channels paved the way for Japan to go bigger and better-targeting audiences across traditional rugby regions of Europe the southern hemisphere, while also pushing for the large potential markets in Asia. Japan has the 4th largest population of rugby union players in the world and this is their opportunity to show the world their rugby pedigree.
Google kicked off the cup with a Doodle the morning of the first match on the 20th which saw Japan face off against Russia. This also launched the first of World Rugby’s YouTube featuring comprehensive match highlights this video already has over 180,000 views. Throughout the event people searching ‘Rugby World Cup’ on Google will find the latest updates, scores and plenty of video content from highlights, a daily show and famous Rugby World Cup moments throughout history. The Google News app will also bring up an interactive tournament wheel bringing users to the latest event news.
Google was not only the platform targeted by World Rugby in their comprehensive Digital Marketing Strategy. Official twitter emojis were released to excite fans and create a bond between them and stadium venues around Japan while also allowing people to show their team support. Official hashtags are #RWC2019 and #webbelliscup will feature the tournament logo and #team21 will feature a whistle for the match officials.
Successes of England 2015
The Digital Content team of England 2015 achieved massive successes with more than 400 million video views, 2.5 million uses of #RWC2015, 28 million website viewers and 2.8 million downloads of the Office App, this at the time were all record breaking for world rugby and Japan 2019 have aims to eclipse all of these. The #RWC2019 hashtag has already had more than 300,000 likes in the first 3 days of a cup.
World Rugby has set their sights on engaging with a wider sports audience especially across the youth and international market utilising all Social Media Platforms. This expanded offering includes a hosted daily show highlighting cultural experiences around japan using numerous rugby personalities, targeting the younger 15 – 24 year old market supplementing the match highlights with additional camera feeds to capture all the action. A Podcast will be aired twice a week which is timed perfectly for Google’s new addition to make podcasts featured snippets.
The official app and website will also offer live audio commentary in 5 different languages for all matches coupled with an interactive match centre which includes advanced player tracking technology for all of those who do not have access to a regular TV broadcast.
“Fans want to be closer to the action and immersed in the sport. That means highlights, analysis, behind-the-scenes team, fan and player content, news, statistics – all of these and more are now the expectation, not the unique”.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper
With the importance of Video Content at the forefront of World Rugby’s mind all video content will be made available for free download which will include: post-match and eve-of-match press conferences for all native website posting alongside the 30-second digital highlights. This is a huge step in making rugby available to the masses where traditionally video content was trapped behind paywalls and exclusive media partnerships.
Creative content shot specifically on and for smartphones has been a particular focus across many digital marketing campaigns in the last few years, to get the most out of this the Rugby World Cup will offer an ‘izone’ with in venue media centers were the media can film interviews on the smartphones for publication. All material will be then available via the dedicated Media-Zone. In addition to this media shot content there will also be Video Content shared from Official Rugby News Service agents.
“The media environment is evolving rapidly and for what will be aground-breaking Rugby World Cup on many levels, we are providing accredited media with unprecedented access to video content and additional content-capturing opportunities to bring fans closer to the action, the stories and the themes that will make Japan 2019 a very special event.”
World Rugby Head of Communications Dominic Rumbles
World Rugby are working with the teams to produce and share content across our respective channels, ensuring fans will get an insight into the sport like never before. This certainly will be a game-changer in every aspect and we are excited to see how their heavy Social Media approach will result in record breaking digital exposure. Check out some of the official media channels to keep up to date with the latest action.
Social Media Usage at the Rugby World cup
The Official social media team has done an outstanding job interacting with the community and fans across the first 2 weeks of the cup so far taking to twitter to give viewers a pitch level view of one of the All Blacks tries. This video has already had more than 1million views on twitter alone with thousands of retweets.
Mind blown ????
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) 23 September 2019
World Cup fans taking to social media
Not to be outdone by the official accounts fans have embraced the usage of Social Media at the cup with a number of videos already going viral such as some french rugby fans creating their own crowd surfing experience on a train.
— のん Marianne Renoir (@nontage) 21 September 2019
Or new Internet sensation Bak San showing what it means to be a fan of the game donning body painted jerseys for all of the games he has been attending propelling him to Social Media Stardom.
Is TikTok the new king of engagement?
Jumping on the hype of newcomer in the Social Media Space TikTok, the RWC2019 team have made an effort to capture this younger audience which particularly resonates with the Asian market with the global hashtag challenge #rugbyfever. They are encouraging fans across the world to show their excitement for the World Cup and it gained more than 25million uses in the first 7 days.
Rugby World Cup 2019 online platforms
Rugbyworldcup.com (4 languages)
The Official RWC App, match centre and match commentary (available in 5 languages)
Official Tik Tok channel
Official mediazone for 4,000 accredited media