Mastercard inks 5-year tie-up with World Rugby to champion women's sports

Mastercard has entered into a five-year partnership with World Rugby to become the global partner of the latter's Women in Rugby programme, exclusively focusing on growing youth participation and raising the global profile of the women’s global competitions and calendar. It will also become the first global partner for Rugby World Cup 2021 and Rugby World Cup 2025, as the preferred card for both tournaments, as well as the first global partner of WXV. WXV is an annual global women’s competition due to start in 2023.

At the same time, World Rugby has also rolled out a marketing campaign titled "Team Powered" for Women in Rugby. It aims to inspire more women and girls to play and watch the sport by showcasing its belief that women’s rugby is the ultimate team sport. The campaign also seeks to show how, through the power of togetherness, a team is greater than the sum of its parts. Mastercard will be the exclusive partner of the Youth Unstoppables element of the Team Powered campaign. The brand said that through a unique digital content series championing inspirational females around the world, it will work to inspire young women and girls to get involved in the sport.

Recognising the unique values of rugby, Mastercard has also engaged in several rugby-focused projects such as partnerships with both men and women’s Rugby World Cup and Golden Lions Rugby Union amateur women’s club league. It appointed professional rugby player Piwokuhle Nyanda and head coach of the Golden Lions senior women’s team Chanel Alberts as brand ambassadors to champion and develop grassroots women’s rugby in South Africa.           

Mastercard will also be using its Priceless platform, which supports priceless experiences and moments, to curate unique experiences with World Rugby and brand ambassadors exclusively. Mastercard also plans to develop rugby-specific content that reinforces the company’s dedication to gender equity, aligning with its signature STEM curriculum titled "Girls4Tech".

Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard chief marketing and communications officer said that fostering connections and giving people the opportunity to grow their passions is what Mastercard stands for. “We are honoured to support a sport as inclusive as women’s rugby that has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. Together with World Rugby, we look forward to creating programs and experiences that get people closer to the game they love," he added.

Alan Gilpin, World Rugby chief executive said it hopes that the new Team Powered campaign and Mastercard partnership will supercharge the sport’s growth, inspiring a new generation of players, fans and parents. According to Gilpin, World Rugby developed "an ambitious commercial strategy" to underpin the sustainable growth of women’s rugby by including both the elite and community levels of the sport. He said this enables partners to champion and support all aspects of the women’s game to make an impact in this priority area.

“Our vision for the sport is very much aligned with a focus on accelerating accessibility, visibility, commerciality, and competition within women’s rugby – the single-biggest opportunity to grow the sport as a whole globally,” he added.

In line with Mastercard’s initiatives supporting women, it launched a partnership with six Hong Kong female entrepreneurs in conjunction with International Women’s Day to promote women-led businesses in the region. More recently, the brand also worked with fashion designer Vivienne Tam, building upon the designer's "Opera Girl" and "V Love Panda" collections, emphasising Tam's goal of celebrating successful women and pushing more of them forward with their careers and opportunities.

Separately, other brands have also showed their support for women this year. SK-II launched a series of original films with the slogan #CHANGEDESTINY which hoped to inspire and empower women of all ages all around the globe to defy expectations, overcome challenges and take control over their own destinies to pursue the dreams and goals they wish to achieve. Closer to home, local women's advocacy group AWARE also launched a campaign titled "#ShesAnIcon" by turning eight women icons into literal "social" icons on social media.

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