Rugby World Cup and Japan – the perfect marriage of sport and technology

The Rugby World Cup in Japan was a feast of exciting action, colourful fans and innovation. There was so much to enjoy during the tournament. 

But it was not just the action on the field that had people talking. The local organisers, world governing body, sponsors and broadcasters made sure that this was one event that will live long in the memory. 

From mind blowing highlights produced by Canon’s Free Viewpoint Video System…

…to partnering with Google to enable highlights to be broadcast on YouTube and within the Google News app. There has been so much to look at both on and off the pitch. 

There was also RWC Daily, a daily YouTube video series brought to you by official sponsor Land Rover. A great way for the brand to be involved in the conversations around the game and provide fans with a different behind-the-scenes look at such a huge event. It was also a useful vehicle in which to incorporate other sponsors, such as Heineken, into content to highlight fan activations.

For a country closely associated with the automotive industry and the current drive towards autonomous and electric cars, sponsor Toyota announced that its fleet of 3,700 Olympic vehicles would be made up of; 500 Fuel Cell electric cars, 850 battery powered and the remainder a mix of hybrids. As it targeted the lowest ever emissions level at the Olympics.    

On the side lines, video reply technology provider Hawk-Eye offered its footage to statisticions in real-time, and teams including England, Scotland and Samoa have been using drones to evaluate tactics. Though England’s plans for using it during training in the lead up to the final came unstuck due the proximity of their hotel to Tokyo Airport

Fans in the meantime were able to fully immerse themselves throughout with podcasts and round-the-clock social media coverage to supplement what was happening on TV and in the press. World Rugby really pulled out all the stops to showcase their highest profile event, and attract not only rugby fans but sports fans in general from around the world.

As with Intel and Samsung using last year’s Winter Olympics to showcase their latest technologies, global sporting events such as this continue to provide the perfect arenas to test at scale and demonstrate capabilities. The press activity, case studies, fan engagement and client demonstrations are all important parts of why technology brands are increasingly looking at sports partnerships as part of their marketing and communications strategies. 

Next year’s Tokyo Olympics promises to be another big next step up with Alibaba, Intel, Panasonic and Samsung all involved. Tech innovation will be high on the agenda.