Transport for London (TfL) has signed up ITV as its commercial partner for the Rugby World Cup ‘live updates’ campaign, building on a trial it ran last year with ESPN for the Fifa World Cup.
The partnership with ITV, which holds the exclusive broadcast rights to the Rugby World Cup, builds on a similar agreement it forged with football website ESPN FC last year for the Fifa World Cup. That agreement marked the first time TfL had delivered sporting results to London Underground commuters in real time.
TfL and ITV are now hoping to reach more people as the transport network extends the live updates from the 140 stations it used last year to 180 for the Rugby World Cup, including platforms across the entire Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee and Northern lines as well as the entire DLR network.
Speaking to The Drum TfL’s chief commercial officer Steve Griffiths said the Fifa activity was received positively. According to post-campaign analysis, messages were shown 4.4 million times and reached over 76 million people on the London Underground, helping ESPN to report a 330 per cent year-on-year increase in website traffic.
“We feel it adds a different dimension to our customer service, and keeping all the sports men and women informed,” he said.
Meanwhile, ITV’s director of sport, Niall Sloane, added that the partnership cements ITV’s commitment to delivering content to fans no matter where they are.
"Bringing Rugby World Cup scores and news to London Underground’s passenger information services provides us with a unique platform to deliver our fan-centric approach to the sport and providing the best possible coverage of the Tournament," he said.
TfL is now eyeing a commercial partner for the Rio Olympics in 2016. However, Griffiths declined to comment on potential partners, saying it’s an ongoing conversation in the background.
“[Live Updates] is a key part of our commercial strategy and how we look at innovative ideas and partnerships that drive additional revenue and contribution to TfL,” he added.
The refreshed commercial strategy is forecast to generate over £3.5bn over the coming years as TfL looks to turn its assets into sustainable sources of income.
A renewed awareness that it was “more than just a transport business” has seen it undertake a massive restructure of how it packages its advertising estate across London.
From next April next, a single advertising contract will span London Underground, London Overground, Tramlink, Docklands Light Railway and Victoria Coach Station as well as Crossrail once it is operational.