What an excellent idea – and untraditional approach. British Rugby is seeking female fans through Mills & Boon novels. The Rugby Football Union has licensed its brand to romance books publisher Mills & Boon, which is publishing eight books with plots linked to the sport. The first book in the series will be published on February 1 to coincide with the RBS Six Nations tournament, followed by another title every month.
‘The Prince’s Waitress Wife‘ opens at a Six Nations match at Twickenham with a sex scene in the President’s Suite after heroine Holly is seduced by a prince. The RFU hopes the books, which will bear its logo and include an explanation of the rules of the game with tips on what to wear to matches, will help bring more women fans into rugby.
Clare Somerville, sales and marketing director at Mills & Boon, said the books have familiar ingredients such as “jet set locations, hunky alpha male hero … but in a rugby context”. Somerville added: “The RFU may not seem like a likely partner but it’s an apposite match. About one third of rugby supporters are women and the RFU is obviously keen to widen its female audience.The RFU has been great to work with and hasn’t been so precious about its image, it has let us get on with it. There is quite a bit of naughtiness that goes on, but the RFU has realised that it is all about good wholesome fun.”
Disappointingly this isn’t a brand new idea. Mills & Boon’s parent company Harlequin already has a similar licensing partnership with the American racing car body Nascar.