Strategic plan to raise the game

Alan Gilpin - World Rugby, CEO
In 2021, Allan Gilpin was named the CEO of World Rugby, the governing body of rugby, a sport with around 500 million fans and 10 million players around the globe.

The new administration has developed a Strategic Plan with several objectives; the most important is to increase the fan base worldwide. How? Making the sport more relevant to more people and growing attention in non-traditional rugby markets. In this conversation, Allan Gilpin talks about where World Rugby wants to be, the challenges faced and what is necessary to reach those objectives.

What will you learn from this episode

  • Building a strategic calendar of international events
  • Making rugby relevant in all its forms for more people 
  • Growing attention in non-traditional rugby markets
  • Creating healthier lifestyles for players, taking care of their welfare

Key moments

02:00 Challenges of World Rugby, Allan named new CEO. Japan World Cup and the pandemic. The new strategic plan

08:49 Building a competition format and a global calendar. Differences with other sports. The women´s game. Players´ safety

14:20 The model of hosting countries, how to choose them? Maintain the interest of the audience, not just in the world cups. The relevance of the strategic plan. Having a more direct relationship with the consumer in the future

17:57 World rugby business´ model 

20:58 investment funds. Models of investment in World Rugby. How to grow the game sustainably? 

24:32 The future of Rugby sevens. The opportunity of growing in non-traditional markets through the sevens

27:43 Sevens is a young product to enjoy with family and friends 

29:01 Rugby participation figures. Challenges in retaining certain players in traditional markets. The relevance of the noncontact versions of rugby. Creating healthier lifestyles for rugby players

32:36 The plans for women´s rugby. How much does it has advanced? The challenges ahead. The 10 years horizon to build the women´s game, grow participation and engagement 

37:46 Key markets as growth drivers as part of a global plan. The success of Japan 2019, the relevance for the Asian market. The objectives with the World Cups in the US.

40:52 how to increase fan engagement. World Rugby as a brand is that we’ve got to be a bit more agile and smarter than ever before. Social impacts through World Rugby.

44:21 The number of fans that rugby has worldwide 

45:54 Opportunities for non-contact rugby 

47:14 Safety and welfare challenges, the research done in those areas. Huge investment.  Concussion injuries 

51:36 The changes made in rugby

52:59 Ritual Questions