Elixirr kicks off data consultancy partnership with United Rugby Championship

18 October 2023 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read
More news on

The United Rugby Championship has added Elixirr to its roster of commercial partners. The challenger consultancy will now help the sports competition to improve its fan engagement, and grow its business, via a rigorous data analytics framework.

Founded in 2001, the United Rugby Championship (URC) is an annual rugby union competition involving professional teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales. Containing over 350 international players and 16 of the world’s most famous teams, the tournament takes on a league format over 18 weekends to decide which eight sides qualify for the play-offs phase. After the quarter-final and semi-final stages, two teams compete in an annual grand finale to decide that season’s champion.

To facilitate the cross-continental tournament each year, the URC has put together a network of international partners to support its 30 staff in Dublin and London. That network includes title sponsors Vodacom and BKT Tires, as well as OFX, sportswear companies Kappa and Gilbert, travel firm Qatar Airways, and now global consulting firm Elixirr.

Elixirr kicks off data consultancy partnership with United Rugby Championship

Elixirr has a proud heritage in rugby, and recently appointed former Springboks captain Bob Skinstad – who previously represented URC participant the Durban Sharks – as a partner. Explaining what Elixirr can bring to the URC with its partnership, Skinstad explained that the move will help drive data-driven growth in the championship.

Skinstad added, “Rugby has to be a business first. We are thrilled to begin working alongside a like-minded innovator like the URC. The sports industry is a relatively untapped vertical that provides huge revenue opportunities. Data plays a crucial role in ensuring that fan and commercial strategies align. But data in isolation won’t deliver on ambitious goals. Through our partnership with the URC we offer more meaningful insights that will have a tangible impact on fan and retail strategies.”

A release from Elixirr added that the main goal of the partnership was to “bolster fan engagement alongside commercial growth opportunities and operational enhancements”, by using data analytics strategy and consultative work. The URC saw a 36% increase in attendance in 2022/23 up from the previous season, and an 8% increase in TV audience, reaching 37.4 million. Now, Elixirr will work to consolidate this expansion via new modes of fan engagement, commercial growth opportunities and operational enhancements, supported by a rigorous data analytics strategy.

In particular, Elixirr will work with Oval Insights to deliver live match day stats, while using its retail expertise to elevate the league’s business and retail performance to boost commercial revenue. This will help to support the URC’s franchise marketing teams, by growing and supporting merchandise sales analytics and crowd demographics to deliver better in-bowl retail strategies and experiences. 

Martin Anayi, CEO of United Rugby Championship, noted, “Growth is always our key priority and innovation will always be at the heart of that ambition for the URC. What is fantastic about Elixirr is that they don’t just want an association with our league, they want to go beyond that and be a key driver to the future success of the URC and our clubs. In the past number of years we have made data insights a key part of how we operate our business and with Elixirr on board we can drive new growth across the league.”  

The development comes at a time of heightened demand for sport analytics – with one report from Fortune Business Insights suggesting the market will surpass $22 billion by 2030. As such, Elixirr is committed to developing the firm’s offering across the business of sport, and the ancillary industries and verticals. Elixirr already works with partners who are supporting organisations across the industry to leverage their data, both on and off the field, to increase revenue opportunities, enhance operational efficiencies, and improve customer experiences.

Stephen Newton, CEO and founder of Elixirr, added, “The URC aligns perfectly with Elixirr’s driving ethos to challenge the status quo. Our team is competitive by nature, so expanding our sports arm aligns perfectly with our internal drive. With data analytics now a crucial part of the sports sector from a fan engagement and operational efficiencies perspective, we are on the front foot to help clients get the most ROI from their data. We’re implementing better strategies and executing on the technology that will drive more effective commercial revenue for our customers.”