Super League Rugby Agrees To Three-Year Sponsorship Deal With First Utility
Super League rugby "will have a title sponsor once more" after officials unveiled a three-year agreement with independent energy supplier First Utility, according to Ian Laybourn of the PA. Rugby league’s elite competition has been without a main backer "since clubs decided to pull the plug on the controversial, cash-less, deal" with Stobart two years ago. Although no figures were announced, it is thought to be a seven-figure deal worth around £750,000 ($1.2M) a year, "which is in line with the old Engage sponsorship" which ran for six years up to '11. The game’s governing body, the Rugby Football League, "came under fire from leading Super League clubs over its marketing and commercial strategies as the dispute over the proposed re-structuring escalated" before the World Cup kicked off in October. Yet the RFL "managed to fill its sponsorship portfolio for the World Cup," which also generated bumper crowds and large TV audiences. It is thought the success of the 14-team competition "helped find fresh backers for the domestic game" (PA, 1/21). First Utility will also obtain naming rights for the newly named First Utility Super League. The league is watched by almost 2 million people annually and is televised on Sky Sports and the BBC in the U.K. First Utility will receive significant TV exposure (Super League).