The International Rugby Board has announced that it is applying to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to acquire the .RUGBY generic top-level domain name (gTLD).
The application is being submitted by Rugby’s global governing federation to keep the .RUGBY domain within the sport for the benefit of the global Rugby family and uphold and promote its values, protecting the sport, its trademarks and the interests of its core stakeholders.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: « With an 18 per cent increase in participation over the last four years we now have more than 5.5 million players participating across 117 countries affiliated to the IRB. Rugby is engaging with more men, women and children than ever before while the profile and commercial reach of the sport continues to go from strength to strength. »
« This application is for the Rugby family and underscores our continued commitment to protecting and promoting Rugby’s values and ethos. It is our ambition to ensure that the .RUGBY domain resides within the sport in order that all involved in Rugby can benefit. »
The application, submitted by Friday’s deadline, follows the opening of the application process being conducted by ICANN to expand the availability of domain names to the public sector beyond the current portfolio of 22 domain names (including .com, .net and .org) to include almost any word. This process has been initiated by ICANN as availability reaches capacity within the traditional domains.
The IRB has partnered with ROAR Domains, LLC and Top Level Domain Holdings (AIM:TLDH), the only publicly traded company focused exclusively on acquiring and operating new generic top-level domains. TLDH’s wholly owned registry services company, Minds + Machines, will provide back-end registry services for .RUGBY.
IRB Acting CEO Robert Brophy added: « If we are successful in our application we propose to work in partnership with our national federations to make the .RUGBY domain name available to the global Rugby family at all levels, including, players, from amateur to professional, tournament owners, organisers and, of course, fans. »
The IRB in partnership with ROAR Domains, LLC and Top Level Domain Holdings, will be able to supply relevant and available domain names for people, entities and organisations with an affinity for Rugby, that do not currently have any particular domain space catering to their specific needs. The IRB will provide those users with a trusted and secure domain space that is consistent with the industry standard service levels.
Antony van Couvering, CEO of TLDH, said: « We are thrilled to be partnering with the IRB on this sporting domain name. This partnership brings the legitimacy and marketing power to a new class of sporting TLDs. »
Hamish Miller, Director of ROAR Domains, said: « We are excited about the partnership with the IRB and look forward to working closely with them to ensure the proper stewardship of the .RUGBY gTLD. »