APO Group, a media relations consultancy which operates in Africa and the Middle East, has agreed a multi-year partnership with Rugby Africa, the continent’s governing body of rugby union.
APO becomes an official partner of Rugby Africa, the highest level of sponsorship, and will be associated with the 10 major international competitions throughout the continent. These include the Africa Gold Cup, which in 2018 doubles as a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, and the Africa Rugby 7s tournament, which is a qualifier for the 2020 summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
APO will also receive an extensive range of sponsorship rights, providing exclusive and customised marketing opportunities surrounding Rugby Africa events.
Chairman of Rugby Africa, Abdelaziz Bougja, said: “It was important for us to team up with the ideal partner: a company sharing the values of integrity, respect, tolerance, discipline and passion commonly associated with rugby, and one whose expertise and know-how can help us shape the future of the sport in Africa.
“Their support will reinforce our efforts to continuously promote rugby throughout the continent and genuinely establish it as a sport for all African populations. This agreement is extremely valuable for us and we look forward to starting our collaboration.”
Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, founder and chief executive of APO Group, added: “Beyond the values it conveys, rugby can be a key catalyst for development among children, millennials, women, men and older nationals, and it deserves to be acknowledged all over the continent. As a leading sponsor, we will devote our efforts to bringing a new dimension to the discipline in Africa and beyond the regional borders.
“In addition to the initiatives we’ll undertake to build momentum and engage and inspire new audiences, we will use our expertise in media relations to put the spotlight on African rugby and reach thousands of potential fans.”
Besides South Africa, rugby union has gained a foothold in many other African countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Senegal, as well as Madagascar which alone has more than 520 clubs.
“In 2002, when I first started my mandate as chairman, there were only six African countries playing rugby on a regular basis: Morocco, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Namibia and South Africa,” Bougja said.
“Today, Rugby Africa boasts 38 countries. Although few may know this, out of 105 countries playing rugby competitively, one-third are African countries. In the space of 15 years, huge strides have been taken by both Rugby Africa and its member federations. With APO Group now on board, we will be able to step up investments and better contribute to the enhancement of the sport in local countries.”