Former All Whites captain Ryan Nelsen has congratulated World Rugby on launching the rugby internet domain name after a deal struck with his sports marketing and technology company.

Nelsen – who captained Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League and led the All Whites to the 2010 World Cup finals – secured the .rugby domain through his Roar Domains firm.

Nelsen and business partner Hamish Miller, in conjunction with the rugby and basketball governing bodies, acquired the .rugby and .basketball domain names after spending millions of dollars and beating off competition from global internet companies.

At the time the deal was struck, Nelsen told the Herald on Sunday that he was not sure “how we did it. “We were incredibly naive with what we were getting into, a couple of Kiwis who thought we could have a go at this. But once we were into it, we were determined to come out on top.”

World Rugby announced in Dublin on Monday (Tuesday NZ time) it had “made history by launching the .rugby internet domain name, kicking-off a digital revolution that will deliver multiple promotional benefits to the global rugby community”.

“Since World Rugby announced this programme in March we have seen tremendous excitement from unions, clubs, players and fans wanting to get into the new digital era of .rugby for their internet identity,” Nelsen said in a World Rugby statement.

“A number of unions are ready to launch alongside World Rugby, keen to get the benefits of consistent branding, a safer internet space, and revenue opportunities.”

World Rugby said its website had become www.world.rugby and all of the international federation’s digital properties, including email addresses, were being seamlessly transitioned as part of a phased major digital re-brand.

Nelsen’s Roar.Rugby, described as “a field-leader in domain technology and marketing”, would be World Rugby’s strategy partner.

Priority access to domain names to will be offered to World Rugby’s six regional associations, 121 national member unions and key stakeholders. The general public will have the chance to use the “trusted and secure” domain later in 2018.

World Rugby said it had 9.1 million players and 338 million fans worldwide.

It said it had obtained the .rugby domain with a view to:

• Accelerate the promotion of rugby and stakeholder brands in a safe, secure and controlled environment
• Promote the sport and unify the global community online under a common identity
• Make sure the rights of privileged rugby stakeholders are preserved
• Link all participants via a specific identity and create a recognisable digital space for all rugby-related activities online

World Rugby Vice-chair Agustin Pichot said: “Building a deeper connection with the youth audience is critical to the relevance and sustainability of sport and rugby is no different. The .rugby domain is an important fan-engagement enabler for rugby, a community promoter and protector and a potential new revenue stream for unions.”

 – Stuff

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