Press Release

Mastercard Presents Sonic Trophy to Rugby World Cup 2021 Player of The Match Recipients

October 7, 2022

The trophy captures live-action audio from the match, immortalizing the recipient’s performance in a truly Priceless® way. Created with Māori fashion designer Nichola Te Kiri, the trophy is inspired by ceremonial traditions of indigenous Aotearoa/New Zealand culture.

The world’s first sonic trophy, presented by Mastercard, was today unveiled at Rugby World Cup 2021 in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The highly-coveted sonic trophy uniquely captures live-action audio from each game, live match commentary and fan reactions, and will be presented to one winning recipient from each of the 26 matches—establishing a new precedent for celebrating the Player of the Match long after the match has ended.

Inspired by the Kaikaranga, a powerful, graceful, and courageous leader and female voice of the indigenous Māori people, this one-of-a-kind trophy will be received by the select few who demonstrate these same qualities on the pitch at Rugby World Cup 2021.

Pictured above: Haley Maxwell

Mastercard worked with local experts in Aotearoa/New Zealand including cultural advisor Piri Rongo Hetet-Wairau and contemporary Māori fashion designer Nichola Te Kiri to authentically represent local Aotearoa/New Zealand culture and identity through the concept, symbolism, and design of the trophy. The trophy blends unique live-action audio recordings from the match edited in real time, incorporating Mastercard’s sonic melody while celebrating indigenous Aotearoa/New Zealand culture through the voice of Piri Rongo Hetet-Wairau.

“Māori narratives highlight strength and leadership abilities of women, and I’m honored to work with Mastercard to bring that symbolism to the trophy design for these incredibly talented athletes,” Te Kiri said. “The trophy’s cloak-like shape, color and patterns represent a woman's responsibility/role as a leader and her connection to her landscape. With the sonic element providing a commemoration of each match, I am truly privileged to pay homage to these outstanding athletes and their individual and unique narratives.”

“Celebrating innovation and inclusivity is at the heart of how we bring Priceless to life through our partnerships all around the world,” said Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer. “The uniting force of sports has been an important part of our journey, and we are thrilled to partner with Rugby World Cup 2021 to reward the inspiring individuals that go above and beyond for their teams with this memento.”

Mastercard became founding global partner of World Rugby’s Women in Rugby program in 2021, focusing on growing youth participation and raising the profile of the women’s global competitions and calendar around the world. The brand is also the first worldwide partner for Rugby World Cup 2021 and Rugby World Cup 2025, and in 2021 enlisted Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Portia Woodman as a Mastercard Global Brand Ambassador.

"Having played in a number of tournaments and matches and been fortunate to bring home trophies along the way, I know how truly unique this innovation is," Woodman said. "Many matches feel unforgettable, but this personalized prize capturing audio highlights lets players relive some of the most incredible moments of their career. That is unbelievably special."

Mastercard has been a long-time supporter of gender equality. The company believes too much of our world was designed without women in mind, and without women involved. The company has committed to leading the charge in reshaping the way our world is designed, coded and constructed by bringing diverse perspectives to the table to unlock powerful ideas that open up our industry and the world’s possibilities to women.

“Rugby World Cup 2021 is set to be the biggest celebration of women’s rugby the world has ever seen. It will be a truly special tournament that celebrates and showcases the world’s best women’s rugby players, in front of record-breaking crowds,” said Sally Horrox, World Rugby Director of Women’s Rugby. “We are committed to raising the profile of the women’s game, working closely with our global partners including Mastercard. We are proud to partner with a brand that shares our vision and ambition to supercharge the women’s game worldwide.”

Over the past decade, Mastercard has developed one of the most well-rounded women’s sports portfolios globally. This investment includes partnerships across tennis, golf, soccer, and rugby, as well as sponsoring players, teams, and events.

Rugby World Cup 2021 is underway now and expected to deliver record breaking attendance for women’s rugby through the Final match on November 12th at Eden Park/ Ngā Ana Wai, Aotearoa/ New Zealand.

Media Contacts

Luke McClelland
Macy Salama
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About World Rugby

World Rugby is an international federation and a global movement comprising more than 500 million fans and 10 million players within 128 national member federations affiliated through six regional associations.

Located in Dublin, Ireland, World Rugby’s purpose is to grow rugby by making it more relevant and accessible, with a vision of a global sport for all, true to its values. The driving force behind the sport’s significant growth has been World Rugby’s portfolio of major events, from the flagship men’s and women’s Rugby World Cups and U20 Championship, that celebrates the future stars of the sport, to the excitement of the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens and HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series which are instrumental in attracting new fans.

The financial success of the men’s Rugby World Cup enables World Rugby to invest record sums in the development and growth of the sport from the playground to the podium, ensuring that the sport is as accessible and enjoyable for as many people as possible. Between 2020-23, the international federation will invest more than £565 million in the sport, representing a 22 per cent uplift on the previous four-year business cycle.


About Nichola Te Kiri

Nichola Te Kiri of dual Māori and Pākeha heritage, was raised in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton), Aotearoa (New Zealand). Her upbringing within two worlds has helped develop her aesthetic for bold and courageous award-winning designs - drawing inspiration from the natural environment around her as well as her heritage and upbringing. With the Mastercard Player of the Match Trophy design, we wanted to portray New Zealand and Māori in a respectful and authentic way. With the focus on the tournament being women, it was appropriate to find an amazing wahine (female/woman) Māori artist. Nichola stood out for her artistic ability, her personal shine and her unique way of combining Māori traditional art and practices with contemporary design. Nichola has always been interested in the arts and encouraging and empowering young wāhine through arts and business. All of this made Nichola the perfect choice to partner with Mastercard and ongoing the promotion of women’s sport.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.