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European Rugby Champions Cup
Airline wants slice of new competition
ESPN Staff
April 13, 2014

The new European Rugby Champions Cup could be about to gain its first high profile sponsor ahead of next season's launch.

Turkish Airlines, already heavily involved in football sponsorship, is understood to be interested in the new competition, which replaces the Heineken Cup as Europe's premier rugby competition.

The new era for European rugby

A source told the Rugby Paper: "They are very interested in rugby and being involved in the first Champions Cup. There's a lot of interest from a lot of brands known worldwide. They illustrate how the game has gone global."

The new body behind the Champions Cup - European Professional Club Rugby - intends to announce four to six elite commercial 'partners' before the end of next month. Turkish Airlines have already worked with some of the biggest names in football, including a sponsorship deal with Manchester United, but are now turning their attention to rugby.

As well as showing interest in the Champions Cup, the airline is thought to be in the running to take over the title sponsorship of the Pro 12. Current sponsor RaboDirect has declined to renew its three-year contract once this season finishes.

The announcement of the new Champions Cup brings to an end a two-year disagreement on the future of European club rugby. The eight-year deal sees power shift away from the unions to the game's professional clubs.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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