RFU land sponsorship windfall
August 14, 2008

The Rugby Football Union have agreed a new four-year deal with official sponsors O2 that will see English rugby benefit to the tune of PS16m.

The new PS4m-a-year deal, that will run to August 31, 2012, will see O2 continue as shirt sponsors of all the England men's teams and for the first time also the England Women side.

The deal was welcomed by England Team Manager, Martin Johnson, who commented, "On behalf of the England squad, coaches and management I'm delighted that O2 have decided to continue their long term support for another four years.

"I'm looking forward to working with them not only from their work with the senior squad but because, like everyone at the RFU, O2 want to spread the positive messages about rugby union to a wider audience and their support of the Go Play Rugby and Play On campaigns ensure that we have regular contact with our supporters and expose the sport to potential new players and fans.

"They have backed the squad during my time as an England player and now as England Team Manager and it's good to work with people who you know well and have a positive business relationship with.

RFU Business and Operations Director Paul Vaughan said, "O2 have been an outstanding sponsor over a number of years and they are the epitome of a company that believes in brand building and the longevity of its key business relationships.

"The work they have done with both the England squad and the grass roots of the sport to date has been terrific and it is fantastic news that they have committed to a further four years with England rugby."

The new deal will continue to give O2 player access rights on both a squad and individual player level, to enable the creation of unique mobile content for customers over the next four years.

Through the new contract O2 will continue to support the RFU's community rugby initiatives such as the current O2 Scrum on the Beach series in support of the RFU's Play On campaign. O2 is committed to making rugby accessible to players at every level of the game and the continued partnership with the RFU will see the establishment of further joint properties and partnerships.

The past seven years of sponsorship has seen O2 deliver exclusive rugby content direct to fans' mobiles, including post-match highlights and 'behind the scenes' video streams.

Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 UK, added, "The re-signing of O2's contract coincides with a new era for the national team under England Team Manager Martin Johnson, which we are excited to be involved with. The past seven years of sponsorship has seen some great highs, for both the team and the brand, including winning the Rugby World Cup 2003 and developing successful community rugby initiatives in conjunction with the RFU."

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