Six Nations organisers have been forced into a U-turn regarding sponsorship for the 2018 edition of the tournament.
Having sponsored the northern hemisphere’s showpiece event since 2003, RBS ended its association with the championship following the end of this year’s tournament.
As a result, Six Nations chief executive John Feehan, who is also the CEO of the British and Irish Lions, began an international search for a new sponsor who would be willing to invest a bumper £100 million in what would be a six-year deal.
This was after the Six Nations’ top brass, according to a report on Thursday in The Times, had turned down a £15 million-a-year offer from RBS to continue sponsoring the tournament, in order to try and find another sponsor who could offer them more cash.
But their efforts to find a new backer, which reportedly saw them speak to a whopping 150 companies, have proven to be in vain and as a result they have had to do a U-turn, going back to RBS to try and see if the £15 million-a-year offer was still on the table.
Unsurprisingly, RBS said no, but keeping the door open to once again sponsoring the event, they offered an initial £9 million. But after lots of discussions the sum has now risen to around £11 million.
The huge uncertainty caused by Brexit is believed to be one of the reasons that they were unable to find a sponsor willing to agree to the £100 million deal they wanted, with sport suffering a decline in the sponsorship market.
Wales and Scotland kick-off next year’s tournament on Saturday, February 3 at the Principality Stadium.
Following their big faux pas, Feehan and co. will be breathing a huge sigh of relief that the jewel in northern hemisphere rugby’s crown will have a sponsor come next year.
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