Data - The key to the success of the Rugby League World Cup 2013

The sport of Rugby League has undoubtedly benefited from RLWC2013, with the tournament hitting the headlines with a number of success stories.

The 28 matches were watched by record crowds and bumper television audiences. The
attendance of 74,468 for the final broke the world record for a rugby league international match and over 67 thousand people enjoyed the ‘Big Hit’ semi-finals at Wembley Stadium, voted as Best Wembley Moment of 2013 ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, the NFL and other sporting and musical events.

At a glance

- 40% average open rate

- Click through rates as high as 91.5%

- Average CTO of 40%

Go modules used

Setting the stage for success

RLWC2013 set out for success right from the word go having identified the importance of a CRM & data marketing strategy. 

Mark Foster, Marketing Manager said “we were aware of the importance of the collection of customer data so that we could contact them in a meaningful way with information that they were interested in. We also knew that this database would be an important legacy for the future of the sport. As a result we selected 4Sight Sport to help us in this area. After appointing 4Sight a joint plan was developed using key phases in the lead up to the tournament. This was based around the development and implementation of the traditional AIDA model; awareness, interest, desire and action as the key phases before and during the tournament."

 70 Percent From South Web

Luca Lasi, CRM Consultant at 4Sight commented “We knew that early on the key issue was to build awareness of the tournament rather than a gung-ho sales approach. This was followed by the collection of their preferences to assess what they might be interested in so that we could turn that into a desire to buy. Then of course just prior to the tournament the contact strategy changes to be around sales."

These phases included detailed analysis and profiling, before segmentation work was carried out in order to define key target groups which we could target with relevant and timely marketing communications. 

To assist this approach, RLWC2013’s CRM technology was used in order to implement an online registration portal and the 4Sight ‘Preference Manager’ system for a richer level of insight. One specific geographic segment that was targeted was London and ‘the south’, as a focus for the matches to be played at Wembley which proved to deliver some fantastic results.

With the traditional profile of a typical fan of rugby league generally considered to be located in the rugby league hotbeds of the north of the country and with a desire to take the sport to a wider UK audience, extra focus was given to this group. Careful consideration was given to the research, branding and communication strategy for the ‘Big Hit’ at Wembley, where the crowd was made up of an astonishing 70% who were from this southern geography. 

Whilst building interest from the more ‘traditional’ territories could have been seen as a little more straightforward it was still important to ensure that these groups received the same level of focus and attention to detail in understanding and communicating to them in a more targeted way.

Attracting and engaging an audience

The e-communications strategy was vital to supporting the overall engagement with fans, and more importantly, presented the ability to measure the level of success. 

The bulk of these communications were delivered over a 5 week period, consisting of over 100 emails. A mixture of engaging content and strategically placed sales messages made up pre-match, post-match and other ‘ad-hoc’ emails.

The industry average email open rate of 20%-25% was well surpassed with average rates acrossthe campaign of 41%. Fans were also evidently finding the email content appealing; average click to open rates (CTO) were as high as 91.5% with an average of 40%.

Mark Foster commented:

“We believe that our data and fan engagement strategy, managed by 4Sight was a major factor in the success of the tournament.”

Establishing a lasting legacy


Average email open rate

"We believe that our data and fan engagement strategy was a major factor in the success of the tournament."

Mark Foster,
Marketing Manager