Major League Rugby (MLR) wrapped up its fifth official season this summer, with Rugby New York taking home its first championship title. As the sport’s popularity steadily increases nationwide, let’s take a look at its burgeoning stable of sponsorships.
Over 380 brands are currently buying sponsorship or media within the MLR and its 13 teams.
Rugby New York currently has less than 10 sponsorship deals–but its league-topping performance this season means brands may soon be clamoring to sign new partnerships with the team as its profile–and the league’s own–continue to rise. Mainfreight, a global supply chain solutions provider, enjoyed prime exposure this season as Rugby New York’s primary jersey sponsor. One of Mainfreight’s tweets with the team was Rugby New York’s highest engaged tweet of the season, and the league’s third highest overall.
Unlike in other pro sports, Business Services tops the category list in terms of total MLR sponsorship deals: 25 brands have one deal each with a league team. TV-visible signage–including field-level sideline signage–is the most common asset purchased by these brands.
Across all categories, the top 10 brands ranked by number of sponsorship deals are:
- Paladin Sports
- Rhino Rugby
- American Airlines
- Guaranteed Rate
- USI Insurance
- The Rugby Network
- PT SportSuite
All of the above have a deal with at least two MLR teams, and one with the league itself.
Meanwhile, 27% of the league’s primary jersey sponsorship deals are with Healthcare brands. The number of teams selling primary jersey sponsorships this season increased 37% over last year.
Goal post pads are another notable asset in companies’ crosshairs, with the number of brands buying this asset up 200% versus 2021. Equipment & apparel retailers Retailers Rhino Rugby and Rugby Now enjoyed exposure on all goal post pads during this season’s matches.
Emerging brands to watch within the league include Wintergreen and Rugby Now, with 4 and 3 new deals this year, respectively. Wintergreen became an official partner of MLR in May 2021, while Rugby Now inked a three-year partnership with the league last February.