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Rugby League World Cup


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Biggest, best and most inclusive Rugby League World Cup ever


The Rugby League World Cup 2021 was a hugely important event for the sport. Already financially challenged by the impacts of Covid, facing competition from other reinvented and heavily funded global sports, Rugby League needed to step outside its limited fan base to attract new audiences. A sport needing to resist complacency and get on the front foot to flourish.

The tournament was a first, for the UK and the world: 3 tournaments; 21 nations; 18 host cities. Everyone welcome.

A major sporting World Cup hosting a men’s, women’s, and wheelchair tournament. The most inclusive global sports event ever. In sharp contrast to the controversies surrounding inclusivity at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

This event had to be approached as catalyst for future growth not just survival.



Rugby League is a community sport – down to earth and genuine. ‘The Rugby League Family’ is something you will hear a lot when you start to connect with people in the sport. We wanted to attract more people into this inclusive and welcoming family not just for the tournament but to increase Rugby League’s legacy fanbase.

It was essential to reflect the most inclusive global sport event ever. In polarised times, with political and moral debates raging around greenwashing and civil rights issues in sport, the RWLC needed to stand out as a beacon for inclusivity.

Our solution and big idea — The Power of Together.

The concept of team, fandom, competition, community, inclusivity and collective greatness. A positioning cutting through a wall of noise for an often-side-lined sport versus global giants.

A call to arms that came to life in festivals, hospitality, fan events, volunteer programmes, mental health fitness charter and an ambitious legacy strategy.


Rugby League threw its doors open, inviting the world through The Power of Together attracting new audiences, record-breaking TV viewing figures and app downloads.

Expectations were exceeded across the board with cumulative match average TV audience of 29.24 million and 500,000 tickets sold plus exceptional associated engagement across content and digital platforms.

We shifted TV audiences from the predominantly male, older age range and Northwest England bias to 40% female, 37% under the age of 50 and 46% based south of Midlands, with an increasing share in Scotland, Wales and NI.

We set the standard for future sporting events, creating a legacy that will last a lifetime. Putting social impact at the heart of every aspect.

A legacy for inclusive participation, communities and the sport embedded for the future.

  • 85% who attended matches believed that having the three World Cups on the same stage contributed to positive social inclusion.
  • 96% of the public believe that hosting RLWC benefited the North of England – Levelling Up (Gov Strat).
  • 56% of TV viewers reported they felt inspired to do more physical activity, having watched RLWC2021.
  • 80% A legacy for inclusive participation, communities and the sport embedded for the future.