Rugby League World Cup 2021

How a major sporting event reached a new audience and drove action on Twitter.

Rugby League World Cup 2021

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 (@RLWC2021) is a major global sporting event, which will take place in 2022 due to COVID-19. This year for the first time, the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions will be staged together across 21 venues in England.

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 campaign shows how you can use Twitter creatively and deliver business results. You can reach and talk to a large relevant audience, earn their attention, and be more effective. What’s more, this campaign shows that when you use Twitter to the best of its potential, you don’t need huge budgets to succeed.

Brett Cullen, Head of Social and Content, Hatch

Campaign objective

In collaboration with agency Hatch (@Hatch__Group), Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) wanted to raise awareness of the opening of the RLWC2021 ticket ballot and convert this awareness into ballot ticket applications.

The ticket ballot initiative was a first of its kind for Rugby League World Cup, so it was crucial to build excitement and awareness among existing fans and potential new fans. 

This was made more challenging due to COVID-19 and consumers' willingness to commit to a large event a year in advance.


The Rugby League World Cup 2021 campaign targeted two audiences, identified as ‘Core Rugby League fans’ and ‘Big Eventers’. 

‘Core Rugby League fans’ consisted of existing fans, whereas the ‘Big Eventers’ were defined as those who regularly attend big sporting occasions and seek out unique experiences to share with friends and family, but may have less knowledge of The Rugby League World Cup. 

These audiences were targeted using keyword targeting, interest and follower look-alikes targeting, and event targeting.

Products used


Using a mix of paid and organic activity on Twitter, Hatch and Rugby League World Cup 2021 achieved:

1M impressions

Over the course of 3 days1

Over 200,000

Video impressions2

2,350 link clicks

 To the ticket ballot landing page

Keys to success

Listen, tease, reveal, reinforce

Following Twitter’s best practices for launch campaigns, Hatch and Rugby World Cup teased their launch with pre-ballot Tweets — suggesting something big coming and encouraging conversation among their target audiences. 

The ticket ballot was then launched with a video created using tools in Media Studio. The video was created with sports fans and the reality of COVID-19 restrictions in mind, with the overall message being one of hope. This was delivered in the form of spoken word, by poet and writer Tony Walsh (@LongFellaPoet).

After the main launch, Hatch worked with tournament partners to Tweet additional information that would aim to educate audiences on the ballot process, allowing for wider reach and to reinforce messaging.

A variety of content

On top of the launch video and educational Tweets, Hatch and Rugby League World Cup utilized a variety of paid and organic Twitter products and formats. 

This included a Twitter thread of images from RLWC2021 host towns and cities that showed iconic landmarks turned purple (the tournament’s color) to inspire audiences. All Tweets also had a clear call-to-action directing people on Twitter to go to the registration landing page. 

Hatch and RLWC2021 executed a strong social listening strategy that sought out fans' questions and feedback. Fans were then provided with information to help inform their decisions.

Careful campaign tracking

The campaign results were measured throughout the campaign using Twitter analytics. Through careful tracking of Tweets, Hatch was able to see what performed and what Tweets got the most clicks. Hatch then tweaked content to strengthen the campaign’s key messaging and the call-to-actions.

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