The Rugby World Cup could be set for a commercial shake-up with City bankers now working with rugby’s governing body.
Jefferies and Rothschild have been appointed by World Rugby to appraise their fundraising options after a year disrupted by Covid-19, Sky News’ Mark Kleinman has reported.
Sources told Kleinman that the body would speak to private equity funds as well as sovereign wealth funds on deals likely to include a stake in commercial rights to the World Cup – the next of which will be held in France in two years’ time.
Private equity giants have been circling the sport for some time, with CVC taking a significant minority stake in the Six Nations tournament as well as Premiership Rugby, the UK’s premier rugby competition.
Meanwhile Silver Lake are in talks with New Zealand rugby over taking a stake in the All Blacks’ commercial rights, with players – including captain Sam Cane – attempting to block the deal.
Rugby has been battered by Covid-19 restrictions, with international tours cancelled, major tournaments hosted behind closed doors and the Women’s World Cup postponed.
World Rugby’s flagship annual tournament, a ‘Sevens’ tournament played across the world, was also heavily affected.