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The Business of Rugby: What can business leaders learn from Premiership Rugby?

Global technology company, Ricoh has today launched their new campaign The Business of Rugby, which will explore the inner workings of all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs, identifying the latest business models and strategies they are utilising as well as the innovations and new technologies they are investing in to ensure success both on and off the pitch.

In addition, the campaign will demonstrate how the techniques used in professional rugby can be equally effective for corporate businesses and organisations, and clearly illustrate that the world of business and its leaders can learn a lot from professional sport.

After all, sport is already big business, and with hugely successful and profitable sports such as football, Formula One and boxing paving the way for others, Premiership Rugby now finds itself on the same trajectory. Since turning professional, Premiership Rugby and its clubs have embraced change, encouraged evolution and as a result have transformed themselves into slick business operations all in the pursuit of on-going and continual success.

Ricoh’s campaign will comprise of three videos and a series of business blogs, focusing on three specific topics, all essential to both business and sport: people, processes and technology.

Dominic Hayes, Commercial Director at Premiership Rugby, said of the first film, which focusses on the theme of ‘people’: “Inside every Premiership Rugby club, business and organisation exists a culture; each is unique and functions in its own way.  It develops and changes over time and is hugely influenced by the talent that join and leave it. Therefore, hiring the right talent and being able to retain that talent is essential to the overall culture of an organization. However, with multiple generations now present in the workplace, differing employee demographics and a blend of skill sets, creating a unified culture founded upon shared objectives and common goals can be challenging. This campaign explores how clubs, and therefore also businesses, can inspire a culture bonded by one single vision and how this can contribute to success.”

The campaign’s second topic will investigate processes – after all, although data cannot predict the future, having access to real time and accurate data can allow players, clubs and businesses to learn and develop quicker, increasing productivity and enhancing decision making. Data gathering and management have now become essential to players’ training and game day strategies and this campaign will examine how successful clubs are leveraging this information to stay competitive on and off the pitch. That being said, as clubs continue to embrace new technologies and the extensive data and information they provide, it does pose the question if all decisions should be based solely on data and if there is still any room for old fashion gut instinct?

The final topic will explore the rapid adoption of new technologies and the sizable investments the top clubs are making in them.  With the increasing competitiveness seen in rugby over the last 10 years, Premiership Rugby clubs are continually looking for new innovative ways to stay ahead of the competition, from drones to GPS tracking, providing them with greater insights to enhance game performance and overall outcomes. But where will it end, and will further advancements such as artificial intelligence, algorithms and supercomputing help or hinder the game? Ricoh’s campaign will endeavor to uncover what the future of rugby really looks like.

Chas Moloney, Marketing Director for Ricoh UK & Ireland, commented: ‘We’re incredibly excited to launch this campaign which will provide a unique insight into how Premiership Rugby clubs have transformed into successful businesses since the onset of professionalism.  At Ricoh, our business is founded upon three key pillar: people, processes and technology. So for us, it’s exciting and extremely encouraging to see the game of rugby, embracing new technologies and utilizing the data they provide but also identifying the need to invest in and develop their people. Professional sport, especially Premiership Rugby, can offer fundamental learning opportunities to businesses and organisations and it’s now up to business leaders to not just recognize these opportunities but be inspired by them.”

Ben Kay, Ricoh ambassador, added: “Most of the research, literature and media surrounding rugby, seems to focus primarily on the action taking place on the pitch and the current club results, so it’s great to be part of a campaign which is showcasing, really for the first time, the business side of the game, and how the top clubs are adapting to new business environments and putting more time and money into their people to ensure they have a competitive edge going forward. For me, this will only help the players to develop their skill sets and breed collective cultures focused solely on one common goal: winning.”

| About Premiership Rugby |
Premiership Rugby is the organisation which manages the top league in English club rugby – Aviva Premiership Rugby.

It acts for its shareholder clubs in all major commercial and strategic negotiations with media and sponsorship partners of the league, as well as with other rugby governing bodies. Premiership Rugby is also responsible for key areas of governance of the top flight competitions, including the Salary Cap Framework, Minimum Standards Criteria and Code of Conduct, as well as managing the Aviva Premiership Rugby competition, the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s and the Anglo-Welsh Cup, all of which are televised live exclusively by BT Sport. Partners for the 2016-17 season are: Aviva, BT Sport, Ricoh, Citizen, Gilbert, ITV Sport, Land Rover and Singha Beer.

Premiership Rugby runs more than 90 local and national community rugby programmes. Each season Premiership Rugby and its clubs, working together with our players, coaches and impressive list of private, public and third sector partners, invest over £3.3million in a variety of community programmes under the Play and BreakThru campaigns which aim to grow grassroots participation and tackle core issues.

For further information, please contact:
Ricoh UK Ltd 
Monika Orolinova
Tel: +44 7824609020
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For further information about the campaign please visit or follow @imaginechangeuk #thebusinessofrugby

|About Ricoh|

Ricoh is empowering digital workplaces using innovative technologies and services enabling individuals to work smarter. For more than 80 years, Ricoh has been driving innovation and is a leading provider of document management solutions, IT services, commercial and industrial printing, digital cameras, and industrial systems. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in approximately 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ended March 2017, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,028 billion yen (approx. 18.2 billion USD). 

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For further information, please contact: 
Ricoh UK Ltd
Jonathan Reader 
Tel: +44 (0) 1784 416 900 

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