Bid for new Six Na­tions deal hits the buf­fers

Western Mail - - SPORT -

SIX Na­tions Cham­pi­onship or­gan­is­ers have re­port­edly been forced into an em­bar­rass­ing climb­down over spon­sor­ship of the 2018 tour­na­ment.

RBS ended its 14-year back­ing of the Six Na­tions and com­pe­ti­tion chief John Fee­han launched a global search for a suc­ces­sor ready to plough £100m into a six-year spon­sor­ship deal.

The Times re­port or­gan­is­ers re­jected a £15m-a-year of­fer from RBS to con­tinue their back­ing in the hope of strik­ing a more lu­cra­tive deal else­where.

But a year’s search for new back­ers has proved fruit­less.

It means Six Na­tions or­gan­is­ers have had lit­tle choice but to go back to RBS to try and se­cure the ini­tial £15m-a-year deal.

But the Times claims RBS said no, of­fer­ing an ini­tial £9m a year – though the fig­ure could now ex­ceed £11m after pro­tracted talks.

A source told the Times: “The bank said no, and you can un­der­stand why.

“After con­sid­er­able ne­go­ti­a­tions over the past few months the fig­ure has in­creased slightly to around £11m and they may get a bit more.

“But it is hugely em­bar­rass­ing that the Six Na­tions seem to have over­played their hand and have had to go back, al­most cap in hand, to RBS.”

The news­pa­per re­port Six Na­tions or­gan­is­ers did re­ceive a £100m of­fer from HSBC but their bid was turned down as it com­bined rights to the tour­na­ment and the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Li­ons.

The un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing Brexit is thought to be one of the rea­sons why the Six Na­tions were un­able to seal their £100m deal, with sport see­ing a down­turn in the spon­sor­ship mar­ket.

> Eng­land cel­e­brate last sea­son’s Six Na­tions suc­cess

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