The British & Irish Lions and Rugby Australia have today (Monday) announced the creation of a joint venture company for the former’s tour of Australia in 2025.
The joint venture model was introduced for the first time during the Lions’ tour of South Africa in 2021 as part of plans to unlock new revenues and reduce “inefficiencies” experienced during prior tours.
The Lions’ joint venture with Rugby Australia will see the two organisations combine their commercial offering to provide broadcasters, partners and licensees with the opportunity to fully leverage and activate across a centralised programme.
Fan engagement will serve as a key priority, with the joint venture to support a collaborative approach to data, digital and social content. It will also seek to provide exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from both camps.
The Lions’ 2025 tour of Australia is eagerly anticipated given the absence of fans for the 2021 tour of South Africa due to COVID-19. The venues for the 2025 tour have not yet been confirmed, but Perth’s Optus Stadium (pictured) is among those in content to host matches.
Ben Calveley, chief executive of the Lions, said: “We are incredibly excited to be working in partnership with Rugby Australia for the 2025 tour. Our purpose is to unite and inspire through extraordinary rugby experiences and the creation of this joint venture sees the Lions unite with Rugby Australia to develop the best possible fan engagement and commercial platform for the tour.
“This collaborative approach will ensure that 2025 reaches new heights, especially with the return of tens of thousands of travelling Lions supporters and will be a global sporting event not to be missed.”
Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos added: “A Lions tour is one of the great occasions in sport, and we are looking forward to welcoming the Lions and their fans back to Australia – especially after the last few years of global uncertainty due to COVID.
“It is especially pleasing to be able to confirm the commercial joint venture that we are entering into with the Lions – and we firmly believe that this agreement presents both parties with the best opportunity to realise the commercial potential of this tour while engaging deeply with all sports fans.
“With the Lions tour in 2025, and home Rugby World Cups in 2027 and 2029, we have a real opportunity for rugby in Australia to establish a legacy that will benefit the game in this country for decades to come.
“We have now begun our work with the Lions to ensure we deliver a tour that captures the imagination of fans across Australia and Lions fans around the world, as well as maximising the commercial return – it is an exciting opportunity for us all.”