New Partnership Sees RPA Drive Commercial Opportunities For Over 1000 Professional Players, Past And Present

Wednesday 23rd June 2021

The Rugby Players Association (RPA) and Pickstar Marketplace, the world’s fastest growing marketplace for brands and businesses looking to connect with and hire sports stars, entertainers and personalities, have today announced a one-year partnership agreement set to drive commercial and sponsorship opportunities for the group’s plus 1000 registered professional players, past and present.
The move means that players such as Danny Care and Mike Brown will now join the online platform, making it easier for them to connect with brands and businesses, as well as selecting preferred commercial opportunities, helping to drive more authentic, mutually beneficial partnerships.
It also means that in the midst of a packed rugby season, with a Lions Tour on the horizon, businesses looking to connect, engage, and hire players can do so with ease.
Pickstar was created out of the lived experience of its founders, James Begley and Matthew Pavlich, both ex-professional AFL players, based in Australia. The platform provides greater visibility and a simpler talent selection and booking process, supporting both talent and talent agencies in finding the best commercial opportunities available. From ambassadorships and virtual appearances to paid social media partnerships and sponsorship deals, registered RPA players will now be able to take advantage of this sophisticated, machine learning, data-driven platform.
Head of Commercial, Gaia Bursell, said: "Having seen the work Pickstar have done in Australia and their work with other Player Associations, we are really excited by this partnership. Helping our members across the board to earn additional revenue and explore other commercial opportunities both big and small is one of our objectives. Opportunities are available for all levels of profile, which is really encouraging for those players who haven’t played internationally but still offer a lot of value to businesses and we will encourage all members to sign up.”
James Begley, CEO of Pickstar, said: .“The partnership with the RPA is testament to the association’s forward looking and progressive nature. We’re naturally delighted to be supporting the team and providing players and their management with more control and visibility to the opportunities that exist. Already we’ve seen a number of successful partnerships come out of the RPA’s adoption of Pickstar Marketplace which gives us great confidence this will be something benefiting players, past and present, for years to come.”
For more information on Pickstar Marketplace, go to


Penny Maltby-Payne – RPA Head of Communications
020 3053 6670
Tom Scott
+44 (0)203 488 7197
About the Rugby Players Association (RPA)

The Rugby Players Association is the representative body and collective voice of professional rugby players in England. We represent more than 800 male and female current rugby players, as well as more than 400 former players.
It is our mission to support, promote and protect the interests of our members, from the moment they sign their first professional contracts, throughout their playing careers, and beyond as they embark on the next phase of their lives.

Our members enjoy a wide range of benefits, including: independent representation; legal advice; personal and professional development; playing insurance; education; confidential counselling; transition support; and much more. Members can also access the support of our official charity, Restart, in the event of serious illness, injury or hardship.

The RPA has also acted as the exclusive commercial representative of the England Team since 2004 and performs the following duties on behalf of Team England: Negotiation of the Elite Players Squad Contract, England and Saxons match fees, England team win bonuses and Image Rights payments with the RFU.

For more information about the Rugby Players Association, please visit

About Pickstar Marketplace
How do you access and book a star if you can't find them?
Pickstar was founded by James Begley who while playing in the AFL, like his team mates, was on the lookout for more paid opportunities and the chance to broaden his experiences and engage with the community.
Following his sporting career, Begs joined the corporate world and found there was a huge demand to engage with sporting talent stars, but few people knew how.
The booking process was a headache for the community and athletes alike. Seeing the problem from both sides, Begs began planning a centralised marketplace that would help people connect with sports stars, and handle the process from start to finish.
He took the idea to Matthew Pavlich, an AFL legend and former President of the AFL Players Association, and the duo set about developing the website, signing up athletes and building the business.
Their hunch was right. The community and sports stars embraced PickStar, which quickly became known as the most trusted platform for facilitating paid engagements large and small.
With offices in Adelaide, New York and London, PickStar’s reach is truly global and with expansion into new star categories including chefs, media and wellness influencers, PickStar can find a meaningful connection for any business and any opportunity.
Go to for more information.  

Pickstar Platform RPA Press Release

As part of the Pickstar Group, VLAST was created by players, for players to increase the talent experience, reduce administrative costs, and remove human error. It is an easy and efficient way to manage all aspects of more valuable and valued talent appearances. 
VLAST fully caters to the needs of the sponsorship, activation, and endorsement ecosystem and offers a centralized dashboard providing automatic scheduling, messaging and holistic overviews of most important elements of activation. VLAST empowers talent, agencies, brands and rights owners to maintain and develop more meaningful relationships and appearances.
Go to for more information.