|Personal is an official UAR sponsor|
Significant changes have occured in the administration of Argentine rugby since Rugby World Cup 2011. With that year being the final one in which Los Pumas lacked an annual competition to play in questions were asked of Argentina´s ability to prepare itself for a professional future. The UAR´s former notorious reputation as being anti-professional needed to be forgotten as a failure to become professional would mean that participation in the Rugby Championship would be short lived.
The administration needed a way to win the trust of the three partner unions which form SANZAR. This means having access to leading players for the tournament was mandatory and in the long term Argentina needed to be able to pay its way without IRB support. The UAR was therefore charged with attracting sponsors to sustain the administration costs and invest in the future to enable players to stay at home rather than play in Europe in a different season.
Self sufficiency is rapidly approaching with Argentina set to be confirmed as having a first ever fully professional rugby team added to an expanded Super Rugby competition for the 2016 season. Confirmation will be made from SANZAR on February 20 and with it will come increased television revenue for the UAR and a vastly bigger television market than what exists at present.
In other words the market value of both Argentine rugby and Super Rugby are set to grow. While this may mean that the existing members of Super Rugby will have to divide their royalties in more ways it also means that the size of the pie will be larger and, therefore, larger profits will be obtained overall. Indeed since joining the Rugby Championship the UAR has made tremendous strides which has seen it record unprecedented profits of $100 million pesos.
Involvement in a reputable tournament attracted larger viewer numbers and matches in Argentina were, in general, very well attended. New interest has come in the form of sponsorship and this is only going to continue with Super Rugby. Argentine rugby website Rugby Time reported the extent of the new found interest in Los Pumas from the business community. It contends that the Puma Brand Name carries a much more significant meaning now due to the Rugby Championship.
The marketing explosion has seen much more than the national uniforms changing from Adidas to Nike. The national club competition is sponsored by ICBC, the national Sevens competition is the Copa Renault while the Rugby Championship is, in Argentina, known as the Personal Rugby Championship. In addition to Los Pumas having Nike and Personal being high paying sponsors Visa has continued being the main sponsor appearing on the national team shirts.
ESPN is also a significant contributor as is the beer company Quilmes in addition to Gatorade, Medicus and QBE. All are official sponsors of Argentine rugby. The UAR also has official suppliers and supporters including Bacardi, Deloitte, Dove, Gilbert, Samsung and a host of others. The argument for Argentina to host Rugby World Cup 2023 therefore carries with it the certainty that it will carry financial strength. Combined with growing player and supporter numbers from a population of over 40 million the expanding market offers a strong argument to end the policy of hosting Rugby World Cup matches in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland every eight years.