Q2 2022

EU BUSINESS NEWS / Q2 2022 17 , The United Rugby Championship’s story begins many years ago – during the 1999-2000 season, in fact. The Scottish districts, Edinburgh and Glasgow, amalgamated with the fully professional Welsh Premier Division, which resulted in the creation of the Welsh–Scottish League. Next came the integration of the four Irish provinces in 2001, thanks to an agreement made with the Irish Rugby Football Union. The new format, named The Celtic League, served as the foundations for which the United Rugby Championship would form. At the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, two Italian teams joined the League, which resulted in the 2011 rebrand to Pro12. The subsequent renaming to Pro14 took place during the 2017 to 2018 season to further reflect the acquisition of two more teams. However, this name would not last long, as after the conclusion of the 2021 season, the league would rebrand once more. Feb22413 Rugby is an internationally popular sport with teams spanning fromaround the globe. Indeed, at the epicentre of this craze is the United Rugby Championship – a rugby league that, through a love of the sport, hopes to build a brighter future. 2021 saw Pro14 expand to include four South African teams previously from the SANZAR Super Rugby competition, and with this evolution came the new name – United Rugby Championship. In a launch statement issued by the league, a spokesperson writes, ‘The United Rugby Championship will be bigger, bolder and stronger than its predecessors. Teams from five of rugby’s elite nations – Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales and South Africa will transform the competition into a league of super clubs, which will embrace difference and champion its athletes on their journey with the URC proudly representing all of those involved with the game.’ Commenting further on this rebrand, Martin Anayi, CEO of United Rugby Championship, states, ‘Forming the United Rugby Championship will begin to reshape the world of club rugby. We are creating a league that embraces and celebrates difference and where the only way to succeed will be to match the skill and intensity of the international game.’ Indeed, the overhaul of the league paired with its new partnership with Jay-Z’s entertainment agency, Roc Nation, hopes to breathe a new lease of life into the league. In essence, this will bring about a new era for the United Rugby Championship – one that is infused with ambition, determination, and an inherent passion for the sport. As such, this is further bolstered by the launch of the Take on Tomorrow programme, which aims to push the United Rugby Championship forward as a tool for social change by using its international platform to engage with clubs, players, fans, and leading charities. The programme’s inaugural project, The Big Picture, epitomises this mission. This project will bring young people together from across the competition’s five nations and sixteen clubs to celebrate the themes of Unity and Respect. 75 people will be selected to undergo two workshops, the first one being a photography and visual communication masterclass with the renowned photographer, Tom Martin. The second involves the submission of photos and the selection of finalists from which the winner will be picked. Simply, the United Rugby Championship hopes to bring about a better future, not only for the sport, but for the world. Through utilising the power of Rugby, the league hopes to create a ‘purpose-driven league that allows our athletes and teams to amaze on the pitch and inspire change off it.’ Contact: Tom Lister Company: United Rugby Championship (Formerly known as PRO14 Rugby) Web Address: https://www.unitedrugby.com/ Award for Excellence in Sport Brand Transformation & Stakeholder Engagement 2022