Shaun the Sheep Joins Rugby World Cup 2015 Flock

Dublin – Ireland, Sept 30, 2013: Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) is delighted to announce that Shaun the Sheep, star of the global hit TV series, has joined the Rugby World Cup 2015 flock.

The exciting merchandising programme between multi-award-winning creators Aardman Animations and Rugby World Cup 2015 master licensee Elite Sports Properties (ESP) will feature Shaun the Sheep and friends tackling Rugby, bringing the sport to new young audiences around the world.

The merchandising and retail initiative will see Shaun proudly sporting his very own official Rugby World Cup 2015 kit as he scrums down with his friends. With the popular TV series broadcast to more than 170 territories worldwide, a first feature movie due for release in early 2015, and Shaun enjoying a global following of nearly three million Facebook fans, the partnership is a perfect match to tell the Rugby World Cup 2015 story to boys, girls and adults.

Sean Clarke, Head of Aardman Rights, said: “Shaun the Sheep is a family favourite and is enjoyed the world over. With the flock working together as a team at the heart of every story, it was a natural fit to work with Rugby World Cup 2015. The joint licensing programme will encourage not only sports fans but all aspiring young children and their families around the world to join in and get behind Rugby and the tournament.”

Bernard Lapasset, Chairman of Rugby World Cup Limited, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Shaun the Sheep to the Rugby World Cup 2015 flock. With Rugby reaching out and engaging the world’s youth, the relationship between one of the world’s largest sporting event and the globally loved Shaun will be a match that will inspire more boys and girls to get involved with a character-building sport.”

Aardman and ESP look forward to showcasing early concepts from the style guide to engage new and existing partners at Brand Licensing Europe in London next month. The core product categories that both parties are looking to explore further are: apparel, plush, stationery and giftware.

About Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup is the financial engine behind unprecedented investment and growth in Rugby worldwide. The net Rugby World Cup surplus from the commercial success of France 2007 and New Zealand 2011 has enabled the International Rugby Board to invest more than £150 million in the Game between 2009 and 2012 and commit an anticipated injection of more than £180 million between 2013 and 2016 to underwrite a large range of major funding initiatives including annual national Union grants and Strategic Investments focusing on growing participation and increasing competition across all 117 national Member Unions affiliated to the IRB.

About Aardman

Aardman, based in Bristol (UK) co-founded and run by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, is a world leader in animation. It produces feature films, television series and television commercials for both the domestic and international market. Its multi-award-winning productions are novel, entertaining, brilliantly characterised and full of charm that reflects the unique talent, energy and personal commitment of the very special people who make up the Aardman team. The studio’s work is often imitated and yet the company continues to lead the field producing a rare brand of visually stunning and amusing independent and commercials productions.

About Aardman Rights

Aardman Rights is renowned for developing and building enduring character brands across all media. It specialises in marketing and realising the commercial potential of its properties in a way that celebrates and respects its intrinsic creative values. Classic brands in the portfolio include Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and Morph, while Aardman Rights has recently acquired third party representation for Walker Books’ ‘Tilly and Friends’ (TV rights) and ‘Small Potatoes’ for Little Airplane (Merchandise rights).

About Elite Sports Properties

Elite Sports Properties (ESP) is an independent sports and entertainment marketing and management company with offices in the United Kingdom and Australia. ESP Merchandise is a specialist in creating licensed merchandise that traverses many platforms, from traditional retail offerings to media activations and promotional premiums. Having been in the memorabilia and collectibles business since 1997, ESP Merchandise have been recognised globally through numerous awards and have consulted to many sporting governing bodies and managers on merchandising strategies.

In the United Kingdom, ESP manages some of the UK’s leading athletes and personalities including cyclist Chris Hoy and swimmer Rebecca Adlington. In Australia, ESP manages a host of leading athletes while also working for corporate organisations and sporting bodies, via its Marketing and Events and ESP Merchandise business units. —- IRB

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