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World Rugby makes Société Générale first top-tier global sponsor of 2023 RWC

Charles Ollivon of France breaks away during 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final versus Wales (by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

World Rugby has signed an extension with long-term sponsor, Société Générale, making the French bank the first company to become a top-tier worldwide sponsor of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which will be held in France.

The renewal builds on an association that dates back to the 1991 edition of the tournament.

Société Générale also has a long-standing presence in French rugby and is currently a sponsor of the French Rugby Federation in a deal worth between €4m ($4.7m)-€5m per year, running until the end of the 2023-24 season.

In October 2019, World Rugby re-appointed IMG as its exclusive commercial partner agency for the next World Cup cycle through to the 2023 tournament. Under the new agreement, IMG continues to represent the sale of the tournament’s top-tier Worldwide Partner programme and overall commercial advisory services across the four-year cycle.

On the interest in other sponsorship packages, the international federation said today: “With World Rugby recently announcing a long-term host selection strategy for its men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups, the international federation is already experiencing record levels of interest for commercial partnerships. The full Worldwide Partner inventory for 2023 is on track to be completed before the event marks two years to go.”

Société Générale was one of six top-tier Worldwide Partners signed up for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, joined by Emirates, Heineken, Land Rover, Mastercard and DHL.

There has also been a total of eight domestic sponsors signed by the French organisers of the event, five of which remain unannounced. State-owned railway company SNCF, building equipment rental firm Loxam and event services specialists GL Events are the three which have been confirmed so far.

France 2023 chief executive Claude Atcher recently told Le Figaro newspaper: “The other five will be unveiled in the coming months. Only French companies. And with some nice surprises.

“We bought the partnership programme for £30m (€33m/$39m) from World Rugby and today the purchase value has already almost doubled. We’re practically at €60m.

“And of the second-tier partners, of which there are also eight, we have already signed four. There is a desire and a need for France 2023.”

World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said today (Tuesday): “Société Générale are a valued and active partner, proactively supporting the growth of the sport worldwide and we are delighted that they are the first partnership to be announced for what will be a home Rugby World Cup for them. We are excited by their activation plans which support our mission to make the sport more accessible and exciting for audiences around the world.”