Land Rover, the UK vehicle brand, has been named as a worldwide partner of the rescheduled 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand (NZ) through a contract extension with World Rugby, the international governing body for rugby union.
The partnership will see the mascots at the 2021 tournament be known as the Land Rover Defenders of Tomorrow, with the brand supporting the women’s tournament by raising the profile of the sport.
A fleet of Land Rover’s electric hybrid Defender SUVs will also help with logistics during the tournament.
Laura Wood, head of global PR and partnership at Land Rover, said: “Today is a milestone on the Defender rugby journey, as we announce our increased support to the whole of the sport.
“We are excited to fully integrate the New Defender – which combines adventurous spirit and capability with innovation and sustainability – into our Rugby World Cup partnership, starting this year.”
The deal is an extension of Land Rover’s existing deal with World Rugby, which covers the men’s 2023 Rugby World Cup in France and marks the brand’s fifth successive association with the Rugby World Cup, having been an official sponsor for NZ in 2011 and a worldwide partner for both the 2015 and 2019 editions of the men’s tournament.
The 12-team tournament, which was delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be staged in NZ from October 8 to November 12. It will be the first time the women’s Rugby World Cup has been hosted in the southern hemisphere.
Alan Gilpin, World Rugby chief executive, said: “With every Rugby World Cup location confirmed through 2033, this is an era of women and rugby and we are committed to ensuring that the sport is as attractive and accessible as possible on a global basis.
“Partnerships like this not only showcase the excitement of the women’s game but are also purpose-driven, impactful and help attract new audiences and participants.”
In April, media giant Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) acquired exclusive free-to-air rights in NZ for the 2021 tournament through a sub-licensing deal with sports NZ-based streaming service Spark Sport.
Under that deal, WBD NZ’s Channel Three will cover eight of the tournament’s 26 matches, including both semi-finals and the final, live. The channel will also broadcast delayed coverage of two quarter-final matches and all three of the NZ Black Fern’s pool matches against Australia, Wales, and Scotland.
Spark Sport holds the rights in the country to all 26 matches of the tournament, with coverage on its platform live and on-demand alongside supporting preview and post-match shows.
Last month (May), Land Rover extended its partnership with Rugby Australia for three years, having first sponsored the national governing body in 2018.
The renewal will see Land Rover continue as the official vehicle of Australia’s men’s national team until the end of 2024, with its logo featuring on the back of teams shorts for matches and training on match rugby balls.
The vehicle manufacturer has been a prolific supporter of rugby union, with various partnerships with South Africa’s national team, England’s Premiership Rugby top-tier league, and the British and Irish Lions touring team, among others.