The RFU currently generates in excess of £85m per annum from broadcasting and sponsorship revenue. This represents a major component of the RFU’s investment back into the game to fulfil our core purpose of continuing to grow the sport in this country.

The Head of Business Development will lead the organisation’s commercial partnership acquisition. They will also identify and execute broader revenue generating opportunities across broadcast, OTT, digital, CRM, media, licensing and international partnerships.  This will include the development of the RFU’s domestic and international broadcasting strategy which will likely be part of a centralised rights model with Six Nations shareholders.

They will also work collaboratively with the Head of Commercial Partnerships on the renewal process with existing partners.

The role requires effective leadership of two Business Development Managers as well as the development of close working relationships across all departments within the RFU.

Depending on the candidate profile and experience, this role may also include responsibilities over licensing and retail operations but this component is not core to the search.


  • Working collaboratively with the Chief Commercial Officer to define the RFU’s partnership acquisition and broader business development strategy.
  • Leading the organisation’s commercial partnerships sales process. Responsible for the Business Development team, currently consisting of two Business Development Managers.
  • Ensuring that the RFU generates significant commercial partnership support for key growth areas of the business including Women’s, Sevens and Community rugby.
  • Accountable for setting and delivering all relevant revenue and cost of sales budgets.
  • Working collaboratively with the Head of Commercial Partnerships on all partnership renewals to ensure we maximise our partnership retention rate and deliver against all renewal revenue targets.
  • Co-creation of an overarching digital and data commercial strategy with the Head of Marketing.
  • Working alongside the Chief Commercial Officer and other international rugby rights holders on future broadcast partnerships.
  • Exploring a strategy for commercialising the England Rugby brand, sponsorship assets and core properties globally through international partnerships.
  • Securing media partnerships that will generate revenue and deliver marketing support for RFU campaigns.
  • Identification and analysis of new technology market trends that may create additional revenue opportunities.
  • Actively collaborating with colleagues to contribute to the development and delivery of strategic, business and operational plans. Exploring areas of collaboration with other relevant rights holders including Premiership Rugby
  • Acting as an ambassador for, and promoting the best interests of the RFU at all times, including the promotion of the RFU Core Values.
  • Undertaking such other duties as maybe required from time to time as are consistent with the responsibilities of the post and the needs of the RFU.

Person Specification

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Proven success at delivering against strategic objectives and driving revenue growth.
  • Experience in structuring rights packages and commercial programmes as well as a modern and strategic approach to partnership sales.
  • Proven experience and success in a high profile, demanding and fast-paced commercial environment at a senior level.
  • Outstanding negotiation and influencing skills, ability to engage with sponsors, broadcasters and other commercial entities at Board level.
  • Experience of building, inspiring, leading and managing a team, setting high standards of performance.
  • Proven success at building excellent working relationships and operating effectively as a member of a senior leadership team.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills as well as strong communication skills.
  • Evidence of sound commercial judgment and decision making capability.
  • Successful P&L experience in complex organisations.
  • Excellent knowledge of the UK broadcast and sponsorship markets

Skills and Personal Attributes:

  • Excellent communicator with an ability to interact effectively with a diverse range of people.
  • Strong influencing skills; persuasive, able to win support and engagement of others.
  • Personally champions a team culture where values such as excellence, hard work, service to stakeholders, honesty, integrity and achievement are paramount.
  • Commands the respect of others; recognised as a person of high integrity, sincerity and in whom others place their trust.
  • Positive mindset; resilient, able to balance multiple priorities and remain focused and clear.
  • Able to present a highly professional image when representing the RFU with all stakeholders on a global basis.
  • Clear strategic thinking and planning.
  • Results driven; thrives on challenge; action-orientated and pragmatic in approach.
  • Committed to demonstrating the highest professional standards of operation and delivery at all times.
  • Hands on approach to sales essential.