IMG Secures Worldwide Licensing Deal with British & Irish Lions
The British & Irish Lions have entered into a multi-year agreement, extending through until 2027, with IMG, appointing the company as their global licensing agency.
This partnership will see IMG spearhead the development of an extensive array of licensed products catering to fans of the renowned rugby union team as they gear up for their 2025 tour of Australia.
The collection of Lions-branded merchandise will encompass fan gear, fashion apparel and sporting accessories designed for enthusiasts of all ages and genders. The collaboration between the two entities aims to extend the reach of the Lions brand beyond the playing field and into new markets through inventive and authentic collaborations and experiences.
IMG, as the global master licensee for World Rugby, has a rich history of delivering successful licensing programs for various rugby events, including the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and 2023, the Women’s Rugby World Cup, and the World Rugby U20 Championship. IMG exclusively manages the global licensing rights for the French Rugby Federation (FFR).
World Rugby is preparing for a substantial shift in its commercial strategy after the currently unfolding 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, with the goal of attracting new fans and boosting revenue. The plan involves centralising major event rights, encompassing sponsorship, ticketing, hospitality, licensing and broadcasting, and altering the current host contract model.
“With more than a century of history and tradition and high resonance across the globe, the British & Irish Lions is one of the strongest brands in sports,” said Mickael Andreo, Vice President of Licensing at IMG.
“The fans are at the core of the team’s legacy, making every tour memorable in its own way. We are honoured to work with the British & Irish Lions to help capture the imagination of a new generation of rugby and broader sports fans and ensure that the 2025 tour is the most iconic one yet.”
The British & Irish Lions tour only every four years – alternating between New Zealand, South Africa and Australia – and were last on these shores in 2013.
The venues for the nine-match 2025 tour of Australia were confirmed in July, with Test matches against the Wallabies scheduled at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (July 19), the Melbourne Cricket Ground (July 26), and Sydney’s Accor Stadium (August 2), preceded by a hotly anticipated clash against a combined New Zealand and Australian invitational team in Adelaide on July 12.
Earlier this year, Fanatics, a global sports merchandising company, extended its ecommerce and manufacturing agreement with the Lions until 2030. The Lions entered into a joint venture with Rugby Australia to expand their approach to commercialising the team’s overseas tours for the 2025 expedition.
This agreement allows the Lions and Rugby Australia to consolidate their commercial offerings, providing broadcasters, partners, and licensees with the opportunity to fully leverage and activate a central program. CSM Sport & Entertainment was subsequently selected as the exclusive sponsorship agency for the 2025 tour, while key partnerships were established with Canterbury and Howden.
“This partnership comes at a critical time as our preparation for the 2025 tour continues to ramp up and underlines our long-term strategic ambition, which is to be the most successful and admired sporting brand,” British & Irish Lions Commercial Director explained
“To achieve this, we need to be working alongside the very best agencies and IMG fall into that category.
“Partnering with IMG will allow us to grow the British & Irish Lions brand further by helping us to connect with fans on a broader scale providing them with high-quality Lions merchandise and experiences.”
The alliance incorporates a high degree of interaction across diverse digital channels and a portfolio of corporate collaborators representing some of the largest global brands and institutions.