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SBD Global/October 13, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

Six Nations Will Reportedly Be Forced To Accept Less Lucrative Sponsorship Deal

Organizers of the Six Nations Championship "have been forced into an embarrassing climbdown" by having to negotiate a sponsorship deal worth £4M ($5.3M) a year less than they were "initially offered" after their approach to 150 companies for a £100M ($132.6M) agreement over six years "drew a blank," according to Mark Souster of the LONDON TIMES. Organizers reportedly rejected a £15M ($19.9M)-a-year offer from RBS, which has sponsored the tournament for the past 14 years, "in the belief that they could strike a more lucrative deal elsewhere." However, a year of negotiations with potential top-line sponsors "have proved fruitless and the Six Nations has had little choice but to go back to the bank and try to secure a deal." As "the only player left in the market, RBS has played hardball" and when negotiations reopened, it offered £9M ($11.9M) a year. That figure "is understood to have now risen" to about £11M ($14.6M). The organizers' hopes of "securing a last-minute alternative sponsor appear unlikely." The Six Nations reportedly received an offer of £100M from HSBC, "but the bid was turned down because it was for the combined rights" to both the tournament and the British & Irish Lions. It is an "embarrassing state of affairs" for the Six Nations, whose CEO, John Feehan, said in January that he "felt confident of finding a company" willing to pay £17M ($22.6M) or more per year (LONDON TIMES, 10/12).
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