Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

RFU sign new sponsorship deal

RFU Offices, Twickenham

The Rugby Football Union have signed a sponsorship deal with BMW that is understood to be a four-fold increase on their previous arrangement with Land Rover.

The four-year partnership will see BMW's investment targeted in the development of elite players and includes shirt sponsorship for England Under-20, Under-18 and Under-16 teams.

"We had to learn some things and we had to do some things differently," the RFU's chief commercial officer Sophie Goldschmidt said.

"There has been an acknowledgement of that. The partners we have spoken to have been appreciative of that."

Since the debacle of the World Cup, which included an incident on a Land Rover sponsors' day, the RFU have signed significant new deals with O2, Canterbury and now BMW.

Stuart Lancaster, England's new head coach, has played a key role in rebuilding the RFU's commercial image after the hammering it took due to events on and off the field in 2011.

Last year the RFU had three different chief executives, while the team's World Cup campaign was dogged by controversy.

"As an organisation we have really come together and gone back to the key principles and implemented them on and off the pitch," Goldschmidt said.

"What Stuart has been able to do has been fantastic and definitely had an impact."

It is understood Land Rover were interested in retaining their connection with the RFU but Twickenham opted for BMW as their official vehicle partner.

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