O2 extends with RFU through 2015 Rugby World Cup

Telecommunications brand O2 has extended its sponsorship of English Rugby in a four-year deal announced by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) this week.

Ronan Dunne, chief executive of O2, told Sports Sponsorship Insider that the agreement is bigger than any previous deals the brand has signed with English rugby’s governing body and is “an enhanced deal for both sides.”

The previous deal saw O2 paying the RFU around £4m per year. On that basis, Frontloaded values the latest renewal, which will extend the relationship between the two parties until June 2016, at around £5m per year.

Despite a poor performance at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and a string of off-field misdemeanours, Dunne remains positive of O2’s investment and is looking to the future of the relationship.

“We have seen some very positive appointments at the RFU recently,” he said. “But most importantly, we looked at whether or not we could build more value for O2 and its customers and the answer to that was yes.”

Significantly O2 remains the principal partner of the RFU through the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, an event likely to attract additional sponsorship renewals and new partners to English Rugby.

Hinting at the possibility of further commercial announcements, RFU chief commercial officer Sophie Goldschmidt commented: “there are lots of positive discussions happening at the moment but nothing official to report.”