In October 2018, the RFU and IBM signed a new four year agreement, which will see them work together using innovative IBM Cloud and AI technology and sports industry expertise to help deliver the RFU’s strategic plan.
The RFU will look to leverage IBM’s technology for a competitive advantage in key areas including the community and professional games as well as with supporters.
- Community rugby - by building a trusted database of players and teams on IBM’s artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled cloud platform the RFU will be able to create - with the aid of IBM iX - personalised interactions with players and teams at key times. The objective of this platform is to support the RFU in their development and management of the community game, with the aim of increasing the number of active players and number of games played each weekend.
- Professional rugby - the RFU has a clear focus to be world leading across men’s and women’s rugby. The new partnership will provide access to IBM’s sports industry expertise and leading AI platform - Watson - to find new player analytic solutions giving rapid access to player performance insights for coaches from video and match data.
- Rugby fans – the RFU want to offer a world-leading experience for rugby fans inside and outside the stadium. IBM’s iX design agency will work in collaboration with the RFU's digital team to redesign England Rugby's match day hub and other web platforms. In conjunction with IBM's AI cloud-based content and marketing solutions, they aim to provide the best possible personalised experiences for rugby fans, wherever they want to follow England’s teams.
The renewed partnership follows a successful five years of working together, which has seen IBM implement a technology-enabled transformational plan for the RFU’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy, enabling the union to better understand and improve communications with their fans and stakeholders. This has resulted in increasing the union’s reach threefold and engagement rates have doubled.