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SBD Global/March 31, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Heathrow Express Makes Deal With USA Rugby Ahead Of '15 World Cup

USA Rugby has signed a sponsorship deal with Heathrow Express, the airport to London train service, which is hoping to cash in on U.S. tourism around the 2015 rugby union World Cup held in England. The sponsorship deal, which will run across the men’s 15 a-side rugby union team, nicknamed The Eagles, along with the women’s 15-a-side and seven a-side forms of the game, will see the Heathrow Express logo appearing on the back of players’ shorts and shirts. It is unclear the length of the deal or the financial value of the deal, which is a new one and not replacing an existing partner. Heathrow Existing USA Rugby sponsors include shirt sponsor Emirates, AIG and Canterbury.

COMPETING FOR CUP SPOT: The deal coincides with this weekend’s return leg of the 2015 World Cup qualifier clash between the Eagles and Uruguay in Atlanta, following the 27-27 tie in Montevideo last week. The winner of the match will qualify for the World Cup in England in 2015. USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville said, “Bringing a U.K.-based partner like Heathrow Express on board will support the development of our national teams and the growth of rugby in the U.S., and support our 2015 RWC (Rugby World Cup) campaigns as well as the development of the Eagles as global sporting brand.” Heathrow Express is hoping to encourage Americans to switch from hailing cabs to use its rail service when they arrive into Heathrow and want to get into central London. Heathrow Express Managing Dir Keith Greenfield said, “In 2014 Heathrow Airport is set to welcome 9.3 million Americans. The challenge for us is to let American business people and holidaymakers know about our premium train service before they arrive in England.” Heathrow Express is building a sponsorship presence in rugby union. Last year, it struck a deal to become the main shirt sponsor of the England men’s and women’s seven a-side form of the game.
John Reynolds is a writer in London.
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