Six Nations Rugby, the official organizer responsible for the largest annual international rugby competitions, announced on October 18 a partnership with Sage, a provider of accounting, financial, HR and payroll technologies for small and medium-sized businesses. Sage will provide live data and analytics captured through Smart Ball’s technology, as well as advanced predictive metrics, which will, among other things, improve fans’ understanding of the game.
Headquartered in Newcastle, UK, and founded in 1981 by David Goldman, Paul Muller and Graham Wylie, Sage is now one of the world’s leading software technology companies with more than 11,000 employees and 3 million customers in over 20 countries.
The company is an official partner of The Hundred, a cricket tournament launched last year where each team plays a single innings with up to 100 balls. Most recently, it announced a three-year partnership with Major League Baseball at the Sage Transform in Orlando, Florida, which took place Oct. 10-14.
Partnership with Six Nations Rugby
Working with its member federations in England (RFU), France (FFR), Ireland (IRFU), Italy (FIR), Scotland (SRU) and Wales (WRU), Six Nations Rugby is responsible for the promotion and operation of the renowned Six Nations Tournament, the oldest international tournament in rugby, and the Autumn International Series. It is also responsible for the negotiation and management of their centralized commercial rights.
The partnership with Sage covers the Autumn Nations Series, the Guinness Six Nations and the TikTok Women’s Six Nations Championships.
The Autumn Nations Series 2022 consists of five rounds of international matches that will see the best nations in the Northern Hemisphere compete against the best in the Southern Hemisphere. They will kick off on October 29 with the Scotland-Australia Test match, at which point the Smart Ball will be used by Sage for the first time to provide real-time data and analytics: ball speed, potential pass detection, kick suspension times and occupancy gains, providing fans and viewers with even more in-depth insight into the games.
Predictive analytics and other variables will also be available to players to help improve their performance and to coaches to refine game strategies.
Cath Keers, Sage Marketing Director,
“For some teams, the Fall Nations Series will be the first time they will be able to collect data and information from smart ball technology. This is incredibly exciting, given our ambition to support teams in their decision making in training and during games, based on data-driven information.”
“For fans watching, Sage wants to use its role as the official insights partner to help bring these new insights to life and enhance their experience, both through broadcast coverage and on social media. Our customers, partners, employees and Sage communities globally will also benefit from this partnership with access to tickets, experiences and content.”
Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby, concludes:
“Six Nations Rugby is a fan-focused organization, working collaboratively with each federation, federation and partner to deliver truly must-see experiences. Partnering with Sage is incredibly exciting for everyone involved, as they share the desire to enhance the audience experience and ultimately bring even more fans into the game.”