Capgemini's new partnership with World Rugby sees them continue their 25-year association with the sport ©Capgemini

World Rugby have announced that they have entered a partnership with global research company Capgemini to help attract new fans to the sport through rugby sevens.

The six-year deal will see Capgemini become the official innovation partner for the World Rugby Sevens Series and the Rugby World Cup Sevens Series 2018 which will take place in San Francisco from July 20 to 22.

World Rugby claim that rugby sevens is a proven "fan-engager" thanks to its "innovative content and social media strategy".

They also state that sevens' inclusion at the Rio 2016 Olympics attracted 16.8 million new fans to the sport.

With sevens seen as such a key component in the growth of rugby, World Rugby are keen to use Capgemini's expertise to entice new fans by enhancing the fan experience for current and future spectators.

World Rugby say that Capgemini will provide fans with greater access and deeper insights into sevens, the players and the teams, including the use of data and infographics to augment the tournament experience in stadiums as well as on television and social media.

Bill Beaumont, World Rugby's chairman, said: "We are delighted to welcome Capgemini to our growing global commercial family for the men's and women's HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018.

"We are excited about the activations that are planned in partnership with Capgemini, harnessing their expertise in technology, data and insights and their passion for rugby to innovate and enrich the fan-experience, reaffirming sevens as a leader in fan-engagement."

Capgemini Group chairman and chief executive Paul Hermelin added: "Our sponsorship of the sevens series combines perfectly our heritage with our global reach, in an innovative and inclusive way.

"It is the next chapter in the story of Capgemini's support for rugby.

"We are looking forward to enabling our clients to discover this fast-moving format, and I know that many of Capgemini's 200,000-strong team are excited about supporting and playing rugby sevens in the months to come."

Capgemini have been associated with rugby for 25 years and were sponsors of the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.