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Legends retains Rugby World Cup retail contract

Global premium experiences company Legends will reprise its role as the official retail partner and operator for the Rugby World Cup after being awarded the contract for next year’s tournament in France.

World Rugby, via its master licensee the IMG agency, has decided to retain Legends following record-breaking official merchandise sales at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Legends will operate all the official retail stores for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in venues and celebration areas located within the host cities. Paris’ Stade de France and Marseille’s Orange Vélodrome will be the settings for the knock-out stages of the 2023 World Cup, with organisers in February 2021 confirming a match schedule that aims to engage the whole of France.

In what is an expanded eight-week tournament, the 2023 World Cup will kick off with the host nation taking on New Zealand on September 8. Each host city will host a minimum of four games and welcome at least one 2019 World Cup quarter-finalist.

Under Legends’ plans, two flagship stores in Paris and Marseille are also set to open in August 2023. In line with World Rugby’s mission to create an exceptional fan experience, the physical stores will be stocked with merchandise featuring all 20 participating teams, exclusive event memorabilia for men, women and children, as well as a large range of official licensed products including official replica jerseys, and the official Gilbert match ball.

World Rugby CEO, Alan Gilpin, 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.”

Legends’ latest deal comes after the United Soccer League (USL), organiser of competitions that sit below Major League Soccer (MLS) in the US soccer system, last month agreed a wide-ranging partnership with the company which is designed to drive the next evolution of its business.

Under the 10-year contract, Legends will seek to bolster national sponsorship sales, provide actionable fan insights, and unlock innovative business solutions for the USL’s suite of men’s and women’s soccer properties, including the USL Championship, USL Super League, and USL League One.

Legends will also help USL clubs increase their local presence and business growth through stadium planning, development and operations, ticketing strategy, stadium naming rights and sales, merchandise, and technology and digital solutions.

Commenting on the fresh Rugby World Cup deal, Legends vice-president of international retail, Victoria Hawksley, said: “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.”