Rugby is set for a major overhaul of its brand when the International Rugby Board (IRB) becomes World Rugby, it has been announced today.
The new brand, including a logo, will be officially launched at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in London on November 17 and 18.
World Rugby will formally become the new title for the sport's governing body on November 19.
Officials claim that the new brand will better reflect rugby's new standing in world sport.
Global rugby participation has boomed by more than two million to 6.6 million players over the past four years, driven by the commercial success of Rugby World Cup, the IRB's development strategies and record investment, strong and vibrant Unions and rugby's re-inclusion in the Olympic Games, they claim.
"We are committed to furthering that growth beyond our traditional family and fan base with a public that expects to be entertained, informed and interacted with. This move is more than just a name change, it is a mission statement."
The rebrand will have no impact on Rugby World Cup 2015 branding or positioning, which will remain as it is with its iconic logo throughout the current event cycle.
It will be the second time in 16 years that the name of the world governing body has been changed.
The IRB was founded in 1886 as the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) by the Unions of Scotland, Wales and Ireland following a dispute between England and Scotland over the laws of the sport.
This latest change, however, is more dramatic and is seeking to reflect the greater role the IRB now has in the sport.
"In a crowded global entertainment and sporting marketplace, the role of the IRB has evolved from game regulator to game inspirer," said Brett Gosper, chief executive of the IRB.
"With this we must continue to appeal to those who know and love the sport and its heritage, while attracting, engaging and inspiring those who have no connection with the sport across multiple cultures and languages around the world.
"World Rugby collectively has the ingredients and tools to do just that."
The IRB currently has 100 full members and 18 associate members.
It applied successfully to the International Olympic Committee in 2009 for rugby sevens to be added to the Olympic programme at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
It will be the first time that rugby has featured at the Olympics since 1924 when the United States won the gold medal.
"World Rugby clearly aligns our name with our mission and allows us to organise new and existing consumer facing properties in a way that they will be more impactful and more appealing to the sport's growing global fan base."
Registration is open for the 2014 World Rugby Conference and Exhibition at the Hilton Metropole, London by clicking here.
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