The England national rugby union team have announced a five-year extension of their current sponsorship deal with O2, taking the partnership to thirty years, the longest shirt sponsorship in the history of sport.
The England Rugby Football Union (RFU) have received a helping hand from telecommunications company O2. The new deal, which begins in September 2021, is estimated to be worth £7.5 million (US$10 million) per year, sees O2 become the principal shirt sponsor for another five years.
Under the new agreement, O2 have pledged to equally fund the men’s and women’s squad as Billy Sweeney, Chief Executive of the RFU, has said, "O2's commitment to equally support both our elite teams is commendable.
"It's great to collaborate with a partner that truly shares our same passion to see the women's game flourish and continue to grow for future generations to enjoy."
O2 provide O2 customers access to tickets 48 hours prior to general release to all England Rugby fixtures as the mobile operator specialises in fan experiences, giving their customers competitive offers. Player meet and greets, discount on merchandise at the Twickenham Stadium and the O2 Ultimate fan, a chance to go on tour with the England team in summer, is also offered to O2 customers and fans of the RFU through O2 Priority.
Additionally, O2 Inside Line provides exclusive behind the scenes content of both teams including pre and post-match content, live streams and podcasts. When fans can eventually return to sport stadiums, fans can experience the O2 Blueroom in the British Airways Fan Village.
As part of the new deal, O2 and the RFU are committed to supporting grassroots rugby through O2 community offers as well as using O2 5G and connectivity products within Twickenham to enhance the fan experience.
O2 Chief Marketing Officer, Nina Bibby, says, “There has never been a more important time to get behind rugby, a sport we love and have invested in for over 25 years. We are proud to support the RFU through our extended partnership, which we believe is the longest shirt sponsorship in the history of UK sport. Our new agreement brings investment parity from O2 to England Men and England Women.
“The future for English rugby is bright, and together we want to make sure that rugby emerges from the pandemic stronger than ever before.”
The RFU called upon the government for financial support last month, as the RFU predict to lose more than £100 million if international and Six Nations fixtures are to be played behind-closed-doors. To help the RFU through the pandemic, they’ve made 140 people redundant and introduce salary reductions.
The renewal of the partnership between O2 and the RFU will significantly help England Rugby through this challenging time. Giving a much needed boost to the sport as the O2 company logo will continue to appear on all match and training kit of the English national team.
Author: James Parker