The deal with Roc Nation is described as “a strategic consulting partnership” and is designed to help the competition appeal to the next generation of rugby fans.
Jay Z, one of the world’s most influential hip-hop artists, is a huge sports fan and his Roc Nation Sports management company includes the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku on its roster as well as a host of US sports stars.
The URC will kick off in September and features the 12 clubs from last season’s Pro14 and the four South African Super Rugby franchises, the Bulls, the Stormers, the Sharks and the Lions.
The new competition is seeking a broader fanbase than its predecessors and has turned to Jay Z’s company for help.
If linking up with Beyonce’s husband seems an unlikely path to take, URC deserves credit for attempting to reach new, more diverse audiences.
Organisers say the deal will also ensure players have their voices heard in the marketing of the new league.
In a statement to announce the tie-up with Roc Nation, the URC said: “The partnership strives to provide a platform that embraces and celebrates difference, capturing the imagination of the next generation of rugby fans and talent.
“The relationship will add value to current and future commercial partnerships through innovative ideas and global amplification. Roc Nation will assist in the development of a Player Advisory Group, offering players a seat at the table to voice opinion and share their views on the promotion and marketing of the game.”
Martin Anayi, the chief executive of the United Rugby Championship, said: “Roc Nation is at the cutting edge of sports, entertainment and culture, and we believe there’s no better partner to help us reach new audiences and develop new experiences for fans.
“We are looking forward to this partnership helping us achieve our ambitions of becoming a strong, purpose-led league where players and fans can have a voice and an influence.”
Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors will play their first matches in the United Rugby Championship on the weekend of September 25-26.