RaboDirect, an online arm of the Dutch financial institution Rabobank, announced it is to end its title sponsorship of rugby union’s PRO12, the competition involving clubs from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy, at the end of the 2013-14 season The announcement came two weeks before the start of the new campaign, giving organiser Celtic Rugby a year to find a new partner. RaboDirect is said to have achieved its objectives in terms of increased consumer awareness and engagement in the first two years of the three-year deal and will subsequently focus its sponsorship activities in Ireland, where it now has over 80,000 customers.
BT Sport, the new pay-television service from the UK telecoms giant, apparently evaded a refusal to carry its advertising by direct rival British Sky Broadcasting after announcing sponsorship deals with Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby, the top Scottish rugby union clubs. Glasgow and Edinburgh both play in Europe’s top-tier Heineken Cup and BT Sport’s fouryear deals with the two teams mean that its logo will appear on the players’ jerseys in the competition, which is shown on the Sky Sports channels.
Dove Men Care, the male skincare brand, signed a new three-year sponsorship deal with the Welsh Rugby Union, becoming a principal partner until 2016. The agreement secures title sponsorship of Wales’ home autumn fixture schedule for the next two seasons, beginning with the ‘Dove Men Series’ clashes with South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia this November, and also covers warm-up matches played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff prior to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, to be held in England and Wales. Dove Men Care previously sponsored Wales’ autumn international series in 2011 and 2012, but this is the first long-term deal with the WRU.