Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco will see new standards in sevens fan-engagement thanks to an exciting programme of innovations announced by World Rugby.

Reflecting a sport that has attracted a fan-base of 33 million in the USA, the Rugby World Cup Sevens fan-engagement strategy aims to bring fans closer to the action in stadia, at home and on the move, serving both avid fans and rugby first-timers.

With rugby sevens a proven driver of fan growth, and the recently-concluded men’s and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series attracting over 100 million video views, San Francisco 2018 will be the most content-focused, digital-first global rugby event of the year, and will feature:

  • Official Rugby World Cup Sevens app: The app will be the ‘go to’ hub for fans following RWC Sevens action in San Francisco. Delivering real-time updates across the tournament the app also includes games, live streaming and commentary, video content and stats from the tournament. In additional GPS-based push notifications will be delivered to fans both worldwide and in-stadia to provide great engagement
  • Cannonballs: A unique augmented reality, in-stadium prize giveaway activation will engage fans as they are encouraged ‘to catch' rugby balls launched into the crowd from the AR cannons visible on the big screen
  • Capgemini Match Predictor: Online game for fans to predict the scores and winners of every game and compete against the Artificial intelligence Bot  - the Capgemini Bot
  • World Rugby Bot: Available online and on Facebook, fans can engage with the Bot to find out about RWC Sevens, the event, teams and live scores
  • Media Stats Hub: Advanced stats hub for use by media and commentators delivered by Capgemini’s Insights and Data team with in-depth team head to head statistics, live match-tracker, AI Bot prediction on all matches and the ‘Expert View’ of attacking and defensive potency based on analytical data insights
  • Web and mobile sites and live match centre: RWC Sevens site provides key information for fans leading up to the event including match schedule, beginners guide to rugby, media info, ticketing, teams, player info and more. During tournament time the match centre will deliver live scores, in-depth match data, a video hub and stats hub. It also includes live streaming, live commentary and near live video clips of all the tries from every game
  • Exclusive Virtual Reality behind the scenes experience: World Rugby have partnered with NextVR, industry leaders in sports and live event VR. This exclusive behind the scenes VR experience of the tournament will let fans in stadium and at home experience exclusive access to all areas of the event
  • A unique branded Twitter emoji for #RWC7s has been launched so fans can join in on the online conversations
  • Several broadcast innovations will also be on show,including super slow-mo cameras, AR graphics and cameras built in to corner posts, making this the best covered sevens event World Rugby have ever produced
  • Rugby7Stars fantasy game: A Rugby World Cup Sevens edition of the successful Rugby7Stars fantasy game will be live for worldwide fans to compete against each other and engage with during the tournament

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 is set to break new ground on and off the field of play as we debut a number of initiatives, which will enhance fan experience and bring fans closer to the action than ever before. As a global capital of innovation, it is very apt for World Rugby to introduce these pioneering digital activation here in San Francisco.

“On the field, with the new ‘knock-out’ format, every game counts as teams need to win every match to be crowned Rugby World Cup Sevens champions. The new tournament format will create a unique and exciting atmosphere for those watching both in stadium and at home.

“Off the field, fans can follow all the action in real time through the official Rugby World Cup Sevens app which will provide live updates, streaming and commentary throughout the tournament. With our new virtual reality experience, fans will also have the opportunity to experience the tournament like never before with an exclusive ‘access-all-areas’ VR experience.”

On the eve of the tournament the Official Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 Innovation Summit will take place on 19 July in conjunction with Global Innovation Partner, Capgemini. The Summit is being held at Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange in San Francisco Bay Area and will bring together leading sports specialists to identify and explore key technology disruptions and implications for sports and the wider business community.