World Rugby, rugby union’s international governing body, has today (July 20) announced US sports marketing agency Legends as the official retail partner and operator for the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) in France.

The deal was brokered by international sports marketing agency IMG, the federation’s exclusive commercial partner agency for the World Cup cycle through to the 2023 tournament.

Legends will operate all the official retail stores for Rugby World Cup 2023 in venues and celebration areas located within the host cities. Two flagship stores in Paris and Marseille are also set to open in August 2023.

The physical stores will be stocked with merchandise featuring all 20 participating teams, exclusive event memorabilia for men, women, and children, and official licensed products including official replica jerseys and the official Gilbert match ball.

As the official retail partner, and in line with World Rugby’s Environmental Sustainability Plan 2030, Legends will support all environmental initiatives with the delivery of a retail operation for Rugby World Cup 2023 “consistent with the company’s ongoing standards of delivery throughout its global business.”

Legends also served as the official retail partner and operator for the 2019 RWC in Japan where World Rugby achieved record-breaking official merchandise sales. 

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As part of its contract with World Rugby, IMG handles the delivery of rights for all sponsorship operations, brand services, licensing, and merchandising management, and negotiates broadcast right deals worldwide on behalf of World Rugby.

Alan Gilpin, World Rugby chief executive, said: “Our ambition is to deliver a world-class experience for rugby fans in France in 2023 and Legends will help us achieve that mission, bringing their expertise and comprehensive experience to the table to deliver an outstanding event.

“Through a network of official retail stores covering all hosts venues and cities, we will innovate together and give fans a tangible memory of what promises to be a spectacular tournament on and off the pitch.”

Victoria Hawksley, Legends vice-president of international retail, added: “Legends is proud of its long-standing relationship with World Rugby, and we are excited to once again bring fans a spectacular retail experience and expansive offerings for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France, a location where Legends has a growing presence and commitment.”