U.S. RUGBY PLAYERS ASSOCIATION JOINS REP WORLDWIDE TO BUILD PLAYER-DRIVEN GROUP LICENSING BUSINESS
LAS VEGAS, May 22, 2018 – As rugby continues to grow in popularity among American audiences, REP Worldwide announced today, in conjunction with the 2018 Licensing Expo, that it has added the United States Rugby Players Association (USRPA) as its newest client. The agreement with the USRPA includes both men’s and women’s group player rights.
Launched in 2017 by the NFL Players Association’s (NFLPA) licensing and marketing arm, NFL Players Inc., REP Worldwide (Representing Every Player) is a first-of-its-kind group player representation business offering licensing and brand management services to athlete-driven sports properties.
The USRPA, which is independently governed by the players and includes all rugby athletes who represent U.S. National Teams, has helped accelerate the interest in one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. Interest in rugby and its players is at fever pitch as excitement is building for men’s and women’s competition at the Rugby Sevens World Cup 2018 in San Francisco this July 20-22, the first time a Rugby World Cup has been played on American soil. Members of USA Rugby will also represent the country in the sport’s signature event, the Rugby World Cup in Japan, where the men’s team will first take the pitch on September 26, 2019 against England.
“Timing could not be better for us to welcome this extraordinary group of athletes to the REP Worldwide team,” said Steve Scebelo, president of REP Worldwide. “The tenacity and toughness that rugby players exhibit in the game will be a huge support in building a new group licensing program featuring their likenesses, as this global powerhouse of a sport continues to gain momentum and appeal in the U.S.”
The USRPA joins REP Worldwide’s client roster alongside the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, both of which recently announced their first slate of licensed partners. REP Worldwide will provide resources and representation to the USRPA as the organization seeks to build and manage a robust and sustainable group licensing and player-marketing program.
“With rugby on the rise in the U.S., we see significant opportunity for our players to benefit from the type of group licensing and player marketing programs that REP Worldwide can deliver,” said Michael Young, USRPA executive director. “We’re excited to partner with REP Worldwide to put their tremendous expertise to work in support of our elite men and women players.”
As part of the agreement, REP Worldwide will structure and manage USRPA licensing partnerships across merchandise categories including digital, apparel and hardlines. Additionally, REP Worldwide will consult on marketing activation, driving support for players and licensees at retail, as well as develop content opportunities via ACE Media, the NFLPA’s content and production subsidiary.
“Our partnership with REP Worldwide will provide us with meaningful ways to focus on revenue creation on behalf of our members,” said Blaine Scully, USRPA Chairperson and USA Eagles Men’s Captain. “With the sport experiencing considerable growth in the U.S., we see the opportunity that exists for our membership to benefit off the pitch from a strong sports licensing program.”
About United States Rugby Players Association
The USRPA is founded by the players for the players of the U.S. National Teams to promote the highest quality player experience and assist in negotiations and dialogue with USA Rugby. Established in 2016, the organization represents U.S. National Team members in their communication with USA Rugby, while being committed to improving the quality of rugby in the United States, encouraging involvement and promoting interest in rugby at all levels.
About the NFL Players Association
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020.
About NFL Players Inc.
NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFLPA, connects businesses to the power of NFL players. NFL Players Inc. creates customized business solutions for partners, through licensing, marketing strategy and player activations. For more information, please visit nflpa.com/players.
About REP Worldwide
Built on a foundation of the NFLPA’s more than 25 years operating a successful sports group licensing program that builds off-field revenue growth that supplements athletes’ on-field earnings, REP Worldwide provides group licensing services for athlete-driven sports properties. The NFLPA is the majority shareholder of REP Worldwide and works in collaboration with its founding partners, the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA). Please visit www.repeveryplayer.com for additional information.