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RugbyPass RWC Case Study

How we ran a multi-channel digital marketing campaign to help RugbyPass increase its user base through the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.


Rugbypass is the world’s largest rugby fan platform and ‘the home of rugby’. It covers all of the latest rugby union news and results, giving fans a place to have their say on the biggest stories in the game.

RugbyPass and its global team of writers, video producers and creators live and breathe rugby. They aim to make rugby more entertaining and accessible to sports fans, and they lead the way in their scale and breadth of coverage.

In August 2023, RugbyPass launched RugbyPass TV, with the aim of ‘transforming entertainment for fans everywhere’. This streaming platform was created to connect rugby fans across the globe more deeply with the game they love, for free.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup was the 10th edition of the tournament and the first since RugbyPass was acquired by World Rugby.

The Rugby World Cup is the biggest tournament on the calendar. Held every four years, the 2023 edition was a major opportunity to grow the active user base of the website, generate sign-ups for RugbyPass TV and connect fans with the sport they love.


RugbyPass wanted to make the 2023 Rugby World Cup the most widely accessible rugby event ever. As a result, our goals for the tournament included: 

        • Increasing organic traffic to the RugbyPass website
        • Increasing awareness of RugbyPass TV 
        • Generating sign-ups for RugbyPass TV 
        • Generating sign-ups for RugbyPass+
        • Improving the quality of on-site SEO-led content 
        • Improving the quality of data and website reporting


To help RugbyPass achieve these goals, we were responsible for creating and delivering an organic search strategy that included: 

        • Fast-paced Digital PR campaigns
        • An on-site SEO content strategy
        • Technical SEO direction
        • Copywriting
        • A comprehensive reporting dashboard


By the end of the tournament, we’d achieved the following results:
  • Over 80 pieces of coverage across major news outlets
  • 28 of those to high authority national outlets
  • 3 pieces of print coverage
  • Organic sessions up 600% vs Japan RWC 2019
  • Total sessions up 32% vs Japan RWC 2019
  • RPTV ended the tournament with nearly 150,000 sign-ups
  • Gained over 900 prominent page 1 positions for ‘Rugby World Cup’ keyword and variants
Our creative asset drove over 150K engaged sessions


How We Did It

To ensure high-quality work was delivered in a timely manner, we utilised an integrated approach between in-house and agency teams. This involved working collaboratively with teams based in France, as well as pundits and ex-pros who were based around the world in different timezones. 

Due to the fast paced nature of the campaigns, the number of people involved and the nature of live sport (particularly with many games not finishing until 10pm UK time), deadlines and priorities shifted constantly. It was our responsibility to be flexible and timely in order to continually deliver to schedule.

PR Summary

To ensure we could generate coverage in the build up to the tournament, during the tournament itself and following the conclusion of the final, we split our PR Campaign into three parts:

1. RWC: Road to the Final

We created an interactive ‘team picker’ tool that allowed RugbyPass’ 80,000-strong fanbase and some ex-pros to predict how the tournament would unfold. This was a gamified experience that was shareable on social media.

2. RWC: Ultimate XV

During the tournament, we created a separate ‘player picker’ tool that allowed fans and experts to pick their greatest RWC XV.

3. RPTV – The Big Jim Show LIVE

During the tournament we also pushed out commentary and opinions from special guests on this flagship show for RPTV.

This three-pronged approach allowed us to generate a variety of news angles that we outreached periodically before and during the tournament.

For the RPTV outreach specifically, we also worked on a reactive basis from the interviews done pre and post-match by RPTV.

Leveraging the comments of high-profile celebrity guests on the show itself – such as Rory McIlroy and Javier Bardem – we turned around press releases and outreached them within a matter of hours to national and international news sites, earning placements on many top-tier news sites.

          • 82 links/coverage
          • 61 average DA
          • 10 non-English speaking placements
          • 122 brand mentions
          • 126m estimate audience reach
          • 28 pieces of coverage above DA80
          • 3 additional print features
          • 1 major podcast appearance 

The ideation process of the campaigns was backed up with keyword research to ensure their success and encourage them to generate organic traffic in addition to coverage and SEO value. One campaign asset generated over 150,000 organic clicks. It ranked in position #1 for ‘rugby world cup predictions’ and a number of other queries.

In addition, this approach allowed us to hit the overarching KPIs as each helped drive:

  • Large volumes of traffic to RugbyPass’ RWC content
    • ‘Road to the Final’ piece was the best performing news piece for 3 months
  • Engagement with the existing fanbase
  • Engagement with a wider rugby and sports audiences
  • 30 direct sign-ups for the RugbyPass newsletter
  • Large volumes of international traffic – particularly South Africa

Content Summary

To improve search visibility, we created a Rugby World Cup content hub on the RugbyPass website. As well as devising the full strategy, including conducting all the keyword strategy and page mapping, we also produced all of the copy. 

The finalised hub acted as a ‘Wiki’ for fans and provided them with key information relating to the tournament, including keyword-rich pages that focused on: 

        • News
        • Videos 
        • Fixtures and Results 
        • Pools 
        • Stats
        • Teams
        • Stadiums
        • FAQs


On top of this, after analysing thousands of keywords, we discovered a number of content opportunities. As a result, we also created pages that were dedicated to: 

        • Rugby World Cup history 
        • Records: the best individual and team performances 
        • The rules of the tournament, how to watch games etc.


We also produced further pieces of content to work alongside the PR campaigns. These were placed on the Ultimate XV and Road to the Final pages. 

Finally, in the knockout stage of the tournament, we also produced dedicated pages for each fixture. These provided an overview of the upcoming match and harnessed the power of the RugbyPass data. 

The content we provided was keyword-rich in nature but was also fan-led and answered queries that fans were actively searching for. Resultantly, we were able to capture two main audiences: new fans who wanted to learn more about the sport (rules pages, how tos, history) and dedicated fans (gamified content, individual tournament breakdowns, in-depth records pages). 

This content campaign was hugely successful. From May to October 2023, keywords where RugbyPass ranked in the top three positions grew from 149 to 561. 

While much of the content was current and topical, we also put a strong emphasis on creating evergreen resources that would continue to bring rugby fans to the website. As of January 2024, the Rugby World Cup subfolder on now has 1,319 relevant and traffic-driving keywords relating to stats, records and world cup history ranking in the top three positions.

SEO Summary

We began our entire strategy with an in-depth analysis of more than 5,000 keywords. This allowed us to understand what fans wanted to read about and engage with. This dictated many aspects of our technical recommendations, but also led to the detailed content roadmap outlined above. 

As part of the technical SEO support we provided to the RugbyPass team, we undertook detailed audits of the entire website and ensured that all content was prominent, crawlable and well positioned to rank. 

During the campaign, content and header structuring, internal linking, hreflang handling of content across multiple languages and regions, cannibalisation and metadata optimisation were just a few of the fixes implemented.

Understandably, reporting on success was also vitally important. This was especially the case because Universal Analytics stopped gathering data midway through the tournament. 

As a result, we created GA4 dashboards for all properties prior to the start of the tournament. This ensured that we were able to get realtime information on high-performing content and demographics as the tournament progressed.


In order to execute our campaigns, we had to overcome several challenges, including: 

1. Scheduling

Due to the technical complexity of the assets we required, it was important to ensure the team received briefs well in advance. 

In addition, there was a full development pipeline during what was an incredibly busy time, so we needed to ensure briefs were submitted early and that clear timelines and expectations were set. 

3. Green PR process

As RugbyPass hadn’t carried out any Digital PR activity before, it was up to us to provide guidance on execution, risks and sign off processes.

3. Hugely competitive news space

Due to the popularity of the tournament, there was a lot of news readily available to publishers. This created a lot of noise.

Thankfully, our research and experience ensured we generated strong ideas that were able to cut through this noise and gain media attention. We were also able to leverage our relationships with established journalists to ensure we received coverage on top-tier sites.  

4. GA3 to GA4 migration requirements 

Universal Analytics sunset last year and data stopped collecting mid-tournament. Thankfully, we set up GA4 pre-tournament.

To help the RugbyPass team with this switch, we also provided training. This ensured team members knew how to access the information they needed, whenever they liked.


“Working with Another Concept meant that I could focus on doing my job during an incredibly busy time, safe in the knowledge that they’d be getting results and using initiative to work towards our goal. The tournament was a huge success and we saw more visitors come to RugbyPass to follow the tournament than ever before.”

Kim Ekin, Head of Editorial & SEO Strategy at World Rugby

“Thoroughly enjoyed working with Rich and Tom to help promote The Big Jim show on RugbyPass TV. There were some great moments throughout the tournament and they helped bring the show to a wider audience.”

Jim Hamilton, former Scotland international and host of The Big Jim Show

“I really enjoyed and appreciated working with the team from Another Concept, and it was gratifying to be a part of such a successful campaign during RWC2023. They were professional, organised, communicative and reliable; perhaps most importantly, keenly aware of what content matter was required and did a superb job both to coax that out of an old bugger like me and to craft it into digestible modern content. No mean feat!!”

Andrew Mehrtens, former All Blacks rugby union international

Get in Touch

Concerned you’re not pursuing the right strategy? Worried you’re not getting the results you should be? Let us know. We’ll take a look for free and give you our honest verdict.

Alternatively, if you’d like to have an informal discussion about the results we can help you achieve, get in touch. We’d love to meet you for a chat over a coffee or a beer.

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