RFL Appoint New Commercial Director

By Community | March 12, 2012

The Rugby Football League (RFL) has further strengthened its commercial and marketing operations with the appointment of experienced sports administrator James Mercer as Commercial Director.

Mercer, pharmacy 43, joins Rugby League’s governing body with a strong pedigree in sports sponsorship and commerce having worked in both professional tennis and motorsport since 1995.

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood, said: “I would like to welcome James to the RFL and look forward to working with him at what is a very exciting time for Rugby League.

“James has a proven track record of commercial delivery and his rich experience has an important role to play as we look to achieve our objectives of growing the sport at every level.

“James will be able to offer a total package to sponsors and commercial partners, from grassroots through to Super League, England and the Rugby League World Cup.”

A former pupil of Bristol Grammar School, Mercer graduated from Illinois State University before completing his Masters in Sport Business at the University of Richmond in Virginia, USA.

His career includes a six-year tenure as Commercial Manager for the International Tennis Federation (2000-2006) and a Director (commercial, media, television and sponsorship) at North One Sport, the Championship Promoter for the FIA World Rally Championship (2006-2012).

James Mercer said: “I have watched Rugby League make terrific progress over the last few years and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to help take the sport to the next level.

“My experience with the ITF and North One Sport has equipped me to deliver a whole-sport solution to the market and maximise sponsorship and revenue streams in a sport I have admired for some considerable time.

“I have first hand experience of building successful platforms by weaving together the elements of television, new media, licensing and sponsorship to achieve commercial objectives.

“With so much positive news, this is a great time to join the RFL and I am very much looking forward to working with all our brands to understand how to maximise all the opportunities that exist for growth.”

His recruitment comes just a few days after the RFL confirmed the appointment of Matt Lowery, the former Manchester City Head of Marketing, as Director of Marketing on a consultancy basis.

Nigel Wood added: “These appointments make the sport better equipped than ever before to realise its rich commercial potential and raise visibility and profile to new heights.

“Matt and James enhance an experienced and committed team at the RFL which is well placed to build on the sustained growth we have overseen in the last few years.”

James Mercer will be based in London and will begin his tenure today (Monday March 12).

by Ismail Uddin