The World Rugby governing body and Genius Sports, the international sports data and technology company, have today (September 7) co-launched a new gamification strategy.

This centers on the release of an official fantasy online game covering the 2023 men’s Rugby World Cup, which begins tomorrow (September 8). This marks the first such game ever created for the tournament.

The game, rugby union’s global governing body has stated, will “provide fans with an opportunity to test their knowledge, compete with friends and family, and engage with the tournament in a new way.”

It involves fans building a squad from the competing players at the 20-team RWC, and receiving points throughout the tournament for their performances.

The two parties have also collaborated to release an online piece of content entitled RWC 2023 Fantasy Showdown, which will see pundits provide analysis on which players should be selected for fans’ fantasy teams.

This program can be watched via RugbyPass TV, the governing body’s streaming service that was launched in late August.

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James Rothwell, World Rugby’s chief marketing and content officer, said: “We're delighted to be working with Genius Sports to deliver the first official RWC Fantasy game ever created for a Rugby World Cup. Rugby World Cup 2023 Fantasy will allow fans worldwide to showcase their rugby knowledge and passion for the sport while also giving them a new way to engage and interact with the tournament.”

Judd Goldstein, head of sports fan engagement for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Genius Sports, added: "We’re thrilled World Rugby has recognized Genius as the global leader in custom premium fan engagement products and selected us as their partner to acquire and engage both casual and avid rugby fans on a truly global scale, using the terrific RWC 2023 Fantasy game as a launchpad for this long-term partnership.”
 
RugbyPass TV has been rolled out worldwide as a free-to-air service and features a mix of live coverage, archive content, and exclusive original programming.

The platform was created in partnership with Endeavor Streaming, a subsidiary of the international entertainment agency giant, and is being hosted on its Vesper platform.

The 2023 RWC will run between September 8 and October 28.