Guinness has confirmed to Sport for Business that it is exiting its seven-year partnership with PRO14 Rugby and will not be involved at the launch stage of the United Rugby Championship.
In a statement provided to us last night we were told:
“Following a 7-season partnership with Celtic Rugby Ltd and PRO14 Rugby, GUINNESS can confirm we will not be renewing our partnership, having come to the end of our term as title sponsor. We wish them the best of luck in their continued expansion into the 2021/2022 season.”
The brand came on board after a two-year spell in which Rabobank were the title sponsor and prior to that, it had been the Magners League sponsored by Bulmers.
It was an expansion into the provincial side of the sport which backed up the long-standing partnership that Guinness has with Irish Rugby as well as the English and Scottish Rugby Unions.
Expansion from 12 to 14 teams and then the arrival of the first South African franchises were a major part of the development of the tournament, backed along the way by Guinness as sponsors. An exclusive TV deal with eir Sport here and Premier Sports in Britain brought the tournament largely behind a paywall but there are strong suggestions that this will now be changing with RTÉ and the BBC rumoured to be on board as well as a global streaming platform for other matches and content.
Now the tournament organisers, backed by the sports marketing expertise that 28 per cent stakeholder CVC has brought to the table, will seek out new headline partners for the new venture.
A brief history of the Guinness PRO14 Partnership
United Rugby Championship is Created
Rainbow Cup Bridge to Guinness PRO16
“At a time where our sport has faced its greatest challenge, we have promising news about an innovative solution to partner with South African rugby ahead of the British & Irish Lions tour,” said PRO14 Rugby CEO Martin Anayi.
PRO14 Rugby Confirms €140 Million Investment
CVC Capital will pay in the region of €140 million for the stake, of which the IRFU will benefit to the tune of a little over €30 million.
A portion of the investment will be held centrally at PRO14 Rugby, for the Board to invest in further capabilities for the business and in upgrading league operations in line with its growth ambitions.
Guinness PRO14 Goes Live with New Platform
From a technology perspective, the new platform promises to be a marker for what is best in class providing live streaming content that could be a precursor to a new dawn in media rights where sports organisations deliver direct to fans.
Celtic Park to Host PRO14 Final
Guinness PRO12 Set to Become Guinness PRO14
The Pro12 will so become the Pro14 and while we will wait to see what this looks like in terms of fixture make up and the impact on local rivalries and derby games until next week there are plenty of rumours swirling around to amuse us until then.
Rigley Signs Up for PRO12
“The marketplace for sports rights is an arena rife with competition and as a result we are intent on making the Guinness PRO12 the most attractive platform possible for commercial partners and rugby fans alike.”
PRO12 Final for Dublin
Anayi Lands Top Job at PRO12
“I believe the Guinness PRO12 has a unique opportunity to build an exciting platform within world rugby, and I would like to thank both Gerald Davies and the PRO12 Board for sharing my ambitious vision for what can be done with the tournament,” said Anayi.
Guinness PRO12 Comes to Life
Rugby’s interest to sponsors is based on the demographic of its audience with 54% of players, fans and TV viewers from the ABC1 demographic. That is more than double the 24% figure in the same category within the broad population.
Other brands including Fitbit, Energia, Dacia, Big Red Cloud and Cityjet have at various times been partners of the PRO14 Finals series.
Guinness and PRO14 Rugby are among the 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.
Sport for Business Partners