EY and USA Rugby kick off ten-year strategy to expand US fan base

Originally published on EY

EY and USA Rugby are launching the first stage of their collaboration to expand the US fan base for rugby using data-driven insights and digital engagement.

In April, USA Rugby and EY announced a collaboration to develop an organizational strategic plan, with the primary focus to revamp USA Rugby’s digital strategy to increase audience participation, grow the rugby fan base through digitally-enabled methods and increase business opportunities for USA Rugby.

USA Rugby’s goals for its digital transformation include better engagement with members, fans and donors through targeted communication and marketing, driven by improved data and analytics in addition to more effective communications. Data-driven insights will support USA Rugby in further understanding the multiple personas within the rugby community and how each individually engages with the sport.

Mark Griffin, Commercial Director, USA Rugby, says:

“Our vision is for rugby to be recognized as a mainstream American sport, offering lifelong opportunities for people to connect with the game in any manner they choose. We feel rugby can serve as a platform to unlock personal potential and unites communities through a shared passion and participation in the sport. So, by reimagining our purpose and digitally enabling our organization, EY teams are helping us do that.”

USA Rugby CEO Ross Young says:

“EY has been incredibly supportive through the early stages of the collaboration, bringing members of the organization together for very insightful evaluation. As we embark on this critical turning point, the EY teams’ experience and understanding for the business and rugby landscape is more than encouraging as we navigate a long-term strategy. This is a very promising path ahead, to say the least.”

Research was the first step

The EY and USA Rugby teams have now completed their internal research to bolster a new corporate strategy for the next 10 years. For EY, this work involved understanding USA Rugby’s role as a National Governing Body, delivering a purpose-driven strategy and growing the fan base in the US to drive wider engagement. Primary pillars of the strategic plan include a sustainable operating model, transformation of USA Rugby’s digital strategy and development of organizational diversity and inclusion.

Over a six-week period, EY Advisory teams worked with USA Rugby to conduct research into the organization’s structure and its future ambitions. Through interviews and workshops with USA Rugby stakeholders – including its Board of Directors, National Office, committee leaders, community partners, World Rugby and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) – EY teams collected information from a broad spectrum of key invested parties in the United States. As a result, EY helped USA Rugby define a relevant purpose, vision, mission and values framework to centralize the development of a strategic plan and help set the foundation for growth over the next ten years.

Norman Lonergan, EY Global Vice Chair, Advisory, says

“We’re excited to work with USA Rugby to help empower America to more deeply embrace the rugby experience. By assisting USA Rugby to grow the player and fan base for rugby in the US we are uniting the community, igniting sustainable development and growing opportunities nationwide.”

As another priority, EY and USA Rugby will also focus on increasing diversity and inclusion throughout the rugby organization and community, including leadership representation at the national office at Chula Vista and developing more opportunities for the public to get involved with rugby, under a roadmap for diversity and inclusion progression over the next decade.


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