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Simon Gresswell scrums down with Rugby League World Cup 2021

Popular exec supporting the licensing, merchandise and retail strategy for the tournament.

Simon Gresswell has joined the Rugby League World Cup 2021 team to support the licensing, merchandise and retail strategy for the tournament.

Simon – who has previously held key roles at IMG Worldwide Licensing and Sanrio – now runs his own sports licensing consultancy, SGLP, which is supporting RLWC2021 ahead of a formal LM&R tender process, which is due to be launched this month.

RLWC2021 will be the largest team sporting event in the world in 2021, and the biggest and best ever in its history that dates back to 1954 when the tournament began.

32 competing nations in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions will play in 61 matches across 21 venues including St James’ Park (Newcastle), Elland Road (Leeds), Anfield and the M&S Bank Arena (Liverpool), Emirates Stadium (London) and Old Trafford (Manchester).

All games will be broadcast live across the BBC in the UK, and around the world in over 100 territories, with an expected event audience of 750,000.

“With very significant increases in TV audiences and spectator numbers targeted, courtesy of the agreement with the BBC and the RLWC2021 team’s ambitious approach, there will be an ‘always-on’ feeling and sense of engagement which other events haven’t always been able to benefit from,” commented Simon. “By doubling the number of participating nations and number of matches via this unique, diverse and inclusive sporting event, it gives a much greater opportunity for consumer products than recent and previous World Cups.”

Jonathan Neill, commercial director at Rugby League World Cup 2021, added: “Licensing and merchandise is a critical piece of our commercial programme, both in driving revenue and also meeting our overall tournament objectives, particularly around fan engagement.

“We need to transcend the sport of rugby league and inspire and reach a new, wider audience, whilst we also have a strategic goal to be the most digitally connected sports entertainment event in 2021.”

Jonathan continued: “Our approach will be data and insights led, and we’re excited about trends and the role of personalisation, inclusivity, and innovative technology in creating a bold approach to LM&R for the tournament.”

Companies who wish to register their interest in the RLWC2021 licensing, merchandise and retail tender should visit

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