APO Group has been appointed by World Rugby’s African Association as the Official Partner of Rugby Africa in a release issued by the association.
The new partnership represents the highest level of sponsorship, and marks a major milestone in APO Group’s history, putting the company at the forefront of the most anticipated rugby events in Africa.
On 12 November, ahead of World Rugby’s General Assembly, Rugby Africa’s executive committee played host to APO Group as part of a special ceremony to celebrate the partnership. As Official Partner, APO Group will be associated with the ten major international competitions throughout the continent, including the iconic Africa Gold Cup - which in 2018 doubles as a qualifier for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan – and the Africa Rugby 7th tournament, which is a qualifier for the 2020 Olympics.
APO Group will also receive an extensive range of sponsorship rights, providing exclusive and customized marketing opportunities to strengthen their reputation.
In his comment the Chairman of Rugby Africa, Abdelaziz Bougja said: “We are very excited to have APO Group joining us as Official Partner. 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 knowhow can help us shape the future of the sport in Africa.
“Their support” he added, “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 CEO at APO Group in his response stated: “As a former amateur rugby player, I am delighted and proud that APO Group has become the Official Partner of Rugby Africa. 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.”
He added: “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. It’s definitely the beginning of a wonderful adventure for both parties”.
For the last decade, the popularity and TV viewing figures for rugby have grown steadily in Africa. Besides South Africa who are currently ranked 2nd in the world and have the largest number of rugby players, the sport has gained a foothold in many other countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Senegal but also Madagascar who 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.”
Mr Bougja continued, “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.”
Next year, up to three African teams, including South Africa, could be representing the continent at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, the world's third-largest sporting event after the Olympics Games and the FIFA World cup. Over four billion people around the world are expected to watch the games on TV channels.
“2018 will be a pivotal year. In addition to ten exciting tournaments including the Africa Gold, Silver and Bronze Cups and the four regional tournaments to name a few, at least one African team will take part in the upcoming Olympic Games and South Africa is in pole position to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, ahead of France and Ireland.
“All these events will provide exceptional moments for African countries and people to unite and create joyful memories. We look forward to celebrating wins with the local fans, being inspired by the artistry of the players, and to the excitement of each match over the coming years,” added Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard.