Heineken to sponsor new European competition
July 20, 2014
Jonny Wilkinson shone as Toulon claimed victory in the last ever Heineken Cup earlier this year © Getty Images
The new European Rugby Champions Cup is set to be backed by the brand of lager synonymous with the competition it replaced.
The Rugby Paper reports that Heineken, long-term title sponsors of the previous European rugby competition, will pay around £4m-a-year to be associated with the ERCC. Heineken is the first major brand to commit to the new tournament, which is being organised by club-driven promoters European Professional Club Rugby.
The new era for European rugby
EPCR are hoping to secure sponsorship from another four major companies, with insurance-giant Allianz and carrier Turkish Airlines among those said to be interested. Organisers are hoping the five deals with bring in £20m-a-year, twice as much as Heineken paid to be headline sponsors of the old European Rugby Cup Ltd.
EPCR expect to bring in at least £25m from French television rights, adding to the £28m agreed with BT Sport and Sky for British rights. Other broadcasting deals are hoped to bring in at least another £14m.
EPCR, which is dominated by representatives from the Aviva Premiership, Top 14 and Guinness PRO12, are hopeful of reaching their target of securing £100m-a-year in total sponsorship ahead of schedule. But with the French domestic season kicking off on August 16, and the Premiership and PRO12 getting underway three weeks later, organisers do not have long to announce further sponsors.
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