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Volume 6 No. 234
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Six Nations Sets Sponsorship Deadline After Struggling To Find Replacement For RBS

Six Nations execs "have been given until the end of the month" to find a new sponsor for the biggest annual tournament in world rugby "after struggling to find a replacement for RBS," which ended its backing last season after 14 years, according to Paul Rees of the London GUARDIAN. The Six Nations had been looking for a six-year, £100M ($135M) deal, but having spent the past 12 months talking to "a number of potential backers," there is "only one firm offer on the table." That is understood to be less than the £11M a year paid by RBS at the end of its contract "as the economic uncertainty blown up by Brexit deters sponsors." The championship starts in February and the tournament committee, which met last week, told its execs that a deal "had to be agreed within a fortnight." While there has been interest from potential sponsors, "no one has come anywhere near the asking price and there is concern that further delay could lead to the one offer being withdrawn." There are "other hurdles" facing the Six Nations. Companies are "often reluctant to become involved after a long-serving backer exits," and it was a "constant struggle" for RBS to have the media include its sponsorship when talking or writing about the tournament. The market in sport has "tightened after a period of boom." Premiership Rugby failed to find a replacement headline sponsor for Aviva this season "after a long search." The company agreed to carry on for another year but for a "heavily discounted price" -- believed to be in the region of 30% less -- and the fears of some unions in the Six Nations is that "far from securing a bumper package, they will be fortunate to even match the amount RBS paid" (GUARDIAN, 9/23).