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Brittain to head Premiership Rugby commercial operations as Hayes exits

The Premiership rugby logo appears with rainbow stripes (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

England’s Premiership Rugby has named Mark Brittain, chief executive at UK-based sport and entertainment company Sports Rights Management, as its chief commercial officer.

The appointment of Brittain comes as commercial director Dominic Hayes leaves the governing body that oversees domestic competitions including the Gallagher Premiership and Premiership Rugby Cup.

Premiership Rugby has also recruited Zoë Clapp as chief marketing officer. She joins from her existing role as chief marketing and communications officer at UKTV, the multichannel broadcaster in the UK and Ireland.

Both Brittain and Clapp will start their new roles on Monday and will report to chief executive Darren Childs.

Childs said: “I am pleased to announce the addition of two exceptionally talented and experienced executives to our senior team. As we set out on ambitious plans to grow the sport of club rugby, Zoë and Mark will play key roles in building our brand, reaching new audiences, and delivering commercial growth.”

Hayes is moving on after close to eight years at Premiership Rugby. He came on board in 2012 from his then-position as World Wrestling Entertainment’s senior vice-president and managing director, international.

Premiership Rugby said that the duo have been appointed to “help lead the growth of the organisation following investment by CVC Capital Partners”. CVC agreed a deal at the end of 2018 to acquire a 27-per-cent shareholding in Premiership Rugby for upwards of £200m (€240.2m/$259.1m).

Brittain became chief executive at Sports Rights Management in October 2018 after close to three years as chief commercial officer at Gfinity, the UK-based esports promoter. He has also held senior commercial positions in the entertainment sector, at Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment.

At Premiership Rugby, he will lead on global commercial rights discussions with regards to media and content, sponsors and brand partnerships, merchandising, licensing and “any other commercial opportunities”.

The arrival of Brittain marks the second leading departure from Sports Rights Management in recent weeks after commercial director Tom Rischbieth joined Football Federation Australia.

On Clapp’s remit, Premiership Rugby said that her goal will be to “grow the popularity, reach and social impact of the sport, working closely with the league’s clubs and players”.

The league body added: “Her first tasks will include leading a full brand and creative review, investing in new insight systems and capability, and growing a world-class in-house marketing and online team.”