Paddy Power has signed a two year deal to become the official betting partner of the Welsh Rugby Union. The deal mirrors the one already in place with the IRFU and strengthens the brands relationship with rugby.
Despite a strong following and a tradition of betting, the sport has never quite lived up to expectation as a betting medium coming in a long way short of soccer, racing, tennis and golf as a driver of betting turnover.
Powers clearly sees it as worthwhile though and has built up a portfolio of rugby references across its sports sponsorship portfolio.
Apart from the Irish and Welsh partnerships it is also the sponsor of the Gay Rugby World Cup, and the official betting partner of the Ospreys (pictured).
Tongan international Epi Taione changed his name to Paddy Power by deed poll in for the duration of the 2007 Rugby World Cup and his Tongan team dyed their hair green for the match against England only to be told this was unacceptable and being forced to dye it back again.
None of the four Irish provincial teams has an official betting partner among its collection of corporate supporters.
The company is growing rapidly with revenues up 23% in the last published quarterly figures and an expected 45 new shops to be opened in Britain during the course of 2012.
“Paddy Power has an established reputation in the United Kingdom and the Welsh Rugby Union is delighted to welcome it as our official betting partner,” said Craig Maxwell, Head of Sales and Marketing for the Welsh Rugby Union.
To coincide with the launch of the partnership, Powers doubled the odds on Welsh players scoring tries against New Zealand on Saturday. This paid off for punters when Williams and Cuthbert ran in tries, albeit after the side went 33-0 down.
“We’re thrilled to be working alongside the Welsh Rugby Union as the official betting supplier,” said Rory Scott from Paddy Power.