The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is planning to bolster coverage of England’s World Cup stars in the lifestyle press as part of a campaign to boost the sport’s appeal.
The move comes as players weigh up opportunities to raise their personal profiles. Most players’ PR is handled by agents, although, following Saturday’s World Cup victory, sports management agency Playerism has hired Pitch PR to boost Mike Tindall’s profile.
Pitch MD Henry Chappell said he aimed to build Tindall’s reputation as an ‘Aussie basher’, adding: ‘We think this [image] could give brands something to work with’.
RFU England media manager Dee McIntosh said she was aiming to secure ‘more and more’ articles in lifestyle titles such as GQ, although she acknowledged that some players, including drop-goal hero Jonny Wilkinson, were wary of embarking on a David Beckham-style PR onslaught.
McIntosh, who joined in the newly created role in June, added that she aimed to secure participation from ‘elite’ players in a nationwide tour of the World Cup trophy, aimed at boosting awareness of rugby.
Lexis PR, hired in September 2002 to increase rugby’s coverage in non-sport pages (PRWeek, 27 September), has ceased to work for the RFU.