Ulster Bank will be back on board as the primary brand in Ireland supporting the renewed one year deal between Nat West and Six Nations Rugby.
Nat West is the main customer brand for RBS which ended a fifteen-year partnership with the tournament in 2017 but was revealed on Sport for Business last month as being the most likely partner again for 2018.
That was confirmed yesterday with the new brand taking the main naming rights and activation in England, RBS retaining its presence in Scotland and Ulster Bank doing likewise in Ireland.
No financial details have been revealed though it is likely that there will be a significant reduction from the €55 Million over four years for the last deal.
The Championship is one of the jewels in the crown of business facing sports sponsorship and particularly so in Ireland where Rugby has a high level of engagement.
There is currently a six-year TV deal in place until 2022 with ITV taking over in the UK and TV3 in Ireland.
Sport for Business understands that many of the traditional rugby sponsors declined to step up to this level when approached over the past eighteen months. Discussions with a major international airline are believed to have come close but concerns over the impact of Brexit are believed to have delayed a long-term commitment.
As those concerns crystallise or fade away over the coming months it may be that this deal comes back to the table.
For now, though it is back to ‘as we were’ in terms of partners that know each other well and will be able to assist in the dawn of a new TV era at least for the tournament.
The deal also sees a renewal of the Rugbyforce partnership which echoed Ulster Banks position as Community partner of the Irish Rugby Football Union. It is also the naming rights partner of the Ulster Bank All Ireland League.
Welcoming the partnership, Six Nations Rugby CEO John Feehan said: “We are delighted to be announcing NatWest as Title Sponsor of the NatWest 6 Nations and the extension of our relationship with RBS,” he said.
“They have been excellent partners over the past 15 years and we know what an outstanding role they have played and will continue to play in the success of our Championship.
“I am sure it will be a wonderful event in 2018 with NatWest on board. They know how this great Championship works and there is no doubt that it is a very positive development for both us and for NatWest ahead of next season. We greatly look forward to it.”
“We have been title sponsors of the Six Nations for the last 15 years and are delighted to be renewing our sponsorship for a further year under our customer-facing NatWest brand,” said David Wheldon, Chief Marketing Officer at NatWest.
“The 2018 NatWest 6 Nations will provide us with a platform to engage and build affinity with our customers and to offer our continued support to a sport with which we have had a long-running and mutually beneficial relationship.”
“The Six Nations also has a strong European reach where we also serve our customers through our NatWest brand.”
“NatWest has a strong rugby heritage and for the last five years has supported more than 700 community rugby clubs across England and Wales via NatWest RugbyForce.”
The 2018 Championship kicks off on 3rd February 2018 with Wales hosting Scotland in the opening fixture at Principality Stadium. Ireland kick off their NatWest 6 Nations campaign at the Stade de France the same day.
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