Tue 6th September 16 :

Lions stay connected with EY

The British & Irish Lions today announced that EY, one of the leading global business consulting firms, will become a Principal Partner of The Lions for the 2017 Tour to New Zealand.

EY will bring its deep digital and analytical experience to The Lions to help bring the Tour and the world's best loved touring team to life for rugby fans around the globe.

British & Irish Lions Chief Operating Officer Charlie McEwen said: "We are delighted to welcome EY to the Lions family as our sixth and final Principal Partner. There is a very strong synergy between our two organisations who both strive to be best of best in our respective fields. We are looking forward to an exciting and productive partnership which can only enhance the Lions experience for all involved."

EY Global Vice Chairman, Advisory Services, Norman Lonergan said: "We're extremely excited to be working with the Lions to enable sports fans and commercial partners to further engage with the 2017 Tour to New Zealand. As a business we identify very closely with the values of rugby and it's fantastic to be able to build on our successful Rugby World Cup 2015 partnership with such an iconic and unique challenge in the modern sporting era.

"The Lions in New Zealand is something special and will be a tremendous test of what a high performing team can achieve in a high-pressure environment. The Lions embodies what EY brings to its clients – a range of diverse expertise, experience and character that, together with the right strategy and analysis, can build a better working world through the highest performing teams."

Land Rover has today announced the renewal of its partnership with Premiership Rugby for a further four years. Land Rover is the Official Vehicle Partner of Premiership Rugby, a relationship that dates back to 2004.

Land Rover's support of Premiership Rugby includes the provision of vehicles for all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs' community departments, to help deliver their vital work and assist the continued development of domestic rugby.

With a proud heritage in rugby, investing in all levels of the game, from grassroots to elite, Land Rover's renewed partnership will see its continued support of the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, the national series of grassroots rugby festivals for U11 and U12 teams, pioneered in 2008. To date, Land Rover has engaged nearly 68,000 youngsters with rugby in the UK through the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, with graduates going on to play in Premiership Rugby competitions, the recent England Under 20 World Cup winning team and England Under 18s.

Land Rover's renewed partnership with Premiership Rugby confirms its position at the heart of domestic rugby and joins a portfolio of rugby properties including Main Club Partner of Premiership Rugby side Wasps, Principal Partner of Welsh regional rugby team Cardiff Blues and Principal Partner of the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand 2017.

Land Rover's heritage in the sport has also extended to two Rugby World Cup tournaments in 2011 and 2015 as Official Sponsor and a Worldwide Partner respectively.

Jeremy Hicks, Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover UK, said: "Land Rover's heritage in rugby is a very proud one. Supporting Premiership Rugby for over a decade is testament to the shared values between Land Rover and rugby but also highlights the value Land Rover places on encouraging the development of the game in the UK.

The sentiment behind Land Rover's 'We Deal In Real' campaign remains true, with the support of grassroots rugby a vital aspect of Land Rover's partnership with Premiership Rugby. Engaging nearly 68,000 youngsters with the sport through the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup, since its inception, has given the next generation of rugby stars the platform needed to develop their skills and grow the game.

The renewed partnership between Land Rover and Premiership Rugby makes the next four years incredibly exciting and complements Land Rover's association with Wasps, Cardiff Blues and the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand 2017."

"We are delighted that Land Rover, Premiership Rugby's longest-running partner, is renewing its partnership with us until 2020," said Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive, Premiership Rugby.

"The new deal comes at a time when Premiership Rugby is in great shape with a 2.4% rise in attendances last season, to a record high"

"Over the past 12 years, this valued partnership has contributed to the development of the game and seen graduates from the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup go on to play in Premiership Rugby fixtures.

"With Land Rover we share a passion for supporting the growth of the game at the grassroots. This renewed partnership will allow the community departments at our clubs to continue to perform their outstanding work, with the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup helping rugby in the UK to continue to flourish."

PRO12 Rugby has announced that Guinness will continue as title sponsor of the Guinness PRO12 Rugby Championship for another four years until 2020, continuing the strong partnership with the competition that began in 2014.

The 2016/17 season of the Guinness PRO12, that involves the top rugby clubs from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, starts on September 2 as the 12 teams try to succeed Connacht, winners of the 2015/16 edition.

Speaking at the 2016/17 launch event at Aviva Stadium, Martin Anayi, managing director, PRO12 Rugby, said: "We're thrilled to have Guinness on board for another four years and their continued support is a testament to the strength of our Championship which gets better with every passing season.

"The Guinness PRO12 is one of the most competitive and exciting competitions in world rugby. Last season we saw some brilliant rugby as Connacht Rugby claimed the trophy following a nail-biting final at BT Murrayfield."

Oliver Loomes, country director, Diageo Ireland, said Guinness were looking forward to building on the strong relationships that had already been forged in the first two years of their title sponsorship of the Championship.

"Guinness has a longstanding heritage in rugby at all levels, and I'm thrilled to announce that we have extended our partnership with PRO12 Rugby until 2020, continuing our commitment to the sport we all love," he said.

Warriors and Ricoh UK have agreed a three-year deal and the suite will be renamed the Ricoh Lounge from 1 September.

The Ricoh Lounge will host Warriors' key hospitality guests on matchdays as well as welcoming the vast number of conferencing and events clients throughout the year.

Ricoh UK are one of a growing number of businesses to recognise the benefit of a relationship with Warriors, backing up their partnerships with Premiership Rugby and local rivals Gloucester Rugby and Bath Rugby.

Warriors Partnership Manager Leyton Williams said: "Ricoh UK are one of the world leading technology partners and we are delighted that they have agreed to sponsor the Ricoh Lounge.

"Their philosophies of ensuring they make a positive contribution to the community align perfectly with Warriors' - an ambitious Club which has been built through the community.

"We look forward to welcoming customers and guests to the Ricoh Lounge in what should be an exciting season for the team."

Worldwide signage company Amayse is the new official event branding partner for Rugby Expo.

In a three-year agreement with Rugby Ventures, the management company behind Rugby Expo, Amayse will provide all event branding and signage, covering the event's registration area, exhibition floor and conference space at the event which takes place at the Ricoh Arena on 03-04 November.

With bases in the UK, Denmark and the US, Amayse are worldwide market leaders in 3D signage and have significant experience working within rugby, which notably includes providing stadium and 3D pitch branding for World Rugby, Aviva Premiership Rugby, Guinness Pro12, HSBC Sevens World Series as well as governing bodies: RFU, WRU, IRFU and SRU.

The new agreement will see Amayse partner with Rugby Expo to deliver all branding and signage for the event from 2016 through to 2018. This coincides with a change in venue for the event, with Rugby Expo moving from Twickenham Stadium to its new home at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

Commenting on the agreement, Greg Craigen, managing director at Amayse, said: "We're delighted to confirm our partnership with Rugby Expo. Having worked on some of the biggest events and competitions in the sport, we're confident our partnership with Rugby Expo, as a key business-to-business event, will provide a great environment for delegates and exhibitors."

Jonathan Wilson, event director for Rugby Expo, said: "Each year Rugby Expo gets bigger and better and the overall 'look and feel' of the event plays a key part in this; Amayse's high profile involvement within the sport is proof of the quality and innovative nature of their work, and we've no doubt that the new partnership with Rugby Expo will be of great benefit to both parties. We look forward to working with them on this year's event and beyond."

Rugby Expo 2016 will host more than 40 rugby-focused exhibitors, an extensive list of industry-wide hard-hitting speakers and a targeted 800 attendees comprising representatives from professional and grass roots clubs, unions, federations, leagues, rights holders, brands, suppliers, service providers, media, sponsorship agents and more.

For information on sponsor or exhibitor opportunities, or to attend Rugby Expo 2016 as a delegate, please contact Jenny Forbes, head of business development, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on +44 (0) 843 289 0583.

Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis is to deliver the inaugural 'Game Changer' lecture which closes the opening day of Rugby Expo 2016 at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on Thursday 3 November.

Francis, who joined Sky Sports in 1999 and was appointed MD in 2009, is a highly experienced and respected sports media professional whose unique perspective on the relationship between sports and broadcasters has been forged on the front line of delivering live coverage as well as in the boardroom.

At Sky Sports, Francis oversees a broad portfolio of rugby union content that includes the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 2017, England and Ireland home Tests, all SANZAR rugby until the end of 2020, the HSBC Sevens World Series, the World Rugby U20 Championships, as well as matches from the European Rugby Champions and Challenge Cups, the Guinness Pro 12 and the French Top 14. Sky Sports also shows a wide variety of women's rugby that has included the last two World Cups – including the 2014 edition won by England – and the 2015-16 Women's Premiership final.

Sky Sports also has exclusive live rights for rugby league's elite competition, the First Utility Super League, culminating in the showpiece Grand Final at Old Trafford, as well as the annual World Club Series, which pits the best of the Super League against the top clubs from the NRL in Australasia.

In the 'Game Changer' lecture Francis will focus on the role of broadcasters in the development of rugby in a fast-changing, multi-platform media universe. In addition to reflecting on how TV has impacted on the both Rugby Union and Rugby League, he will turn his attention to future trends and developments, flagging-up opportunities and challenges to be faced by governing bodies, clubs and the media companies themselves.

The 'Game Changer' Lecture has been introduced to the Rugby Expo programme to provide an annual platform for challenging and thought provoking input into the subjects critical to the continued development of a sport whose global footprint and commercial value has grown significantly in the professional era.

Rugby Expo is the largest B2B conference and exhibition focusing on professional and grassroots club rugby and the launch of the 'Game Changer' lecture marks Rugby Expo's move to The Ricoh Arena after five years at Twickenham. The venue is home to Premiership Rugby side Wasps, whose move to their new home has transformed approaches to rugby's traditional business model and helped reignite interest in the sport in Warwickshire and the surrounding area.

Incoming World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont, one of the towering figures of English rugby and captain of the 1980 Gland Slam winning team, will deliver a wide-ranging opening keynote outlining his vision for the future of the sport.

Elsewhere on the Day 1 conference programme, Wasps CEO David Armstrong will be among the senior European club executives to take part in the Club Council, an interactive panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities faced by clubs operating in a highly competitive commercial and media environment. The session will address the relationship between clubs and international unions and the role of the leagues in promoting and sustaining the sport.

Speakers from Microsoft and digital sponsorship tracking specialists SnapRapid are the first to confirm their participation in a session, which focuses on the biggest issue in sports business, the digital commercialisation of sports, and how this can be applied to professional rugby.

Confirm your place at Rugby Expo

For information on sponsor or exhibitor opportunities, or to attend Rugby  Expo 2016 as a delegate, please contact Jenny Forbes, head of business development, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on +44 (0) 843 289 0583.

 

Scottish Rugby today toasted a new partnership with Eden Mill, Scotland's first single site distillery and brewery, which will see the drinks specialist become the governing body's first ever Official Gin Partner.

In addition to becoming the Official Gin Partner of Scottish Rugby, Eden Mill will also become the Official Gin of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby, appearing and supporting the clubs throughout the season with on-site bars at games. Scottish Rugby Toasts First Official Gin Partner

The exciting four-year partnership will be officially unveiled to supporters at the professional clubs' home games this season and Scotland's opening Autumn Test match against Australia on Saturday 12 November at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 2.30pm).

For Eden Mill, the opportunity to work with these exciting global brands will enable it to provide rugby fans with an improved and interactive experience on game days.

The Scottish craft gin brand will be on site at all matches in the stadium grounds with a pop-up gin bar and Airstream trailer on match-days, offering a range of beverages for supporters, including their popular Love Gin, Oak Gin, Hop Gin and specialty gin cocktails.

Using locally-sourced ingredients and exporting to 15 countries, Eden Mill is leading the way with innovation in the booming Scottish gin industry, promoting Scotland's trades on a global scale, through a variety of channels and significant partnerships.

Eden Mill Founder and Co-Owner, Paul Miller, said: "This is a proud moment for Eden Mill and a great opportunity, which we are incredibly excited about.

"We look forward to being part of the growing success and popularity of the game at professional club and international level over the years to come."

Scottish Rugby Head of Marketing and Sponsorship, Toni Blackhurst, said: "We are delighted to welcome Eden Mill to our growing family of partners.

"Supporters are turning out at Scotland and professional club rugby matches in record numbers. New partnerships, like the one announced today, help us enhance the range of drinks available to fans enjoying a world-class day out at BT Murrayfield.

"We look forward to working with such an exciting young company like Eden Mill over the coming years."

The partnership will also include exclusive offers for fans, content and brand presence during matches, as well as interaction on the club's digital and social media platforms.

Leicester Tigers have agreed a new sponsorship with Mattioli Woods, one of the UK's leading financial management providers.

As an Official Sponsor of the Tigers, the East Stand at Welford Road will carry the Mattioli Woods name in time for the start of the 2016/17 season and the company will also have branding on the team's playing kit.

Formed in Leicestershire in 1991, Mattioli Woods now advises more than 6,000 clients on financial management and employee benefit services, with offices across England and Scotland.

Ian Mattioli, chief executive at Mattioli Woods, said: "We are very excited about this new strategic partnership with the Tigers. It is an excellent club, and their ambition and family values fit very well with our own.

"While being very active in terms of charity and sport, this is the first sponsorship deal of its kind that the company has struck with a British sports team."

Simon Cohen, Leicester Tigers chief executive, added: "We are delighted to welcome Mattioli Woods as a new partner of the club.

"As a business born in the city, they have grown significantly in their own markets and are now a prominent brand in financial management. We look forward to working closely with them in the new season."

Thatchers will feature on Bristol Rugby's home and away shirts, as well as Bristol Rugby Ladies' matchday kit.

From August 6th, football and rugby fans alike can enjoy Thatchers Gold, Haze and Dry on draught, throughout the 'new' Ashton Gate Stadium. Meanwhile, Thatchers will also become the official Man of the Match partner for the Premiership rugby side.

"Thatchers have been a long-term partner of Bristol Sport. We're pleased to see that relationship develop and extend to Bristol Rugby's iconic home and away shirts," Bristol Sport CEO Andrew Billingham said.

"With Bristol Rugby back in the top flight and the 'new' Ashton Gate Stadium on the brink of completion, it's a hugely exciting time for the club and our commercial partners."

Martin Thatcher, fourth generation cidermaker at Thatchers Cider, added: "The rugby club is a big part of Bristol's sporting fabric and we're pleased to share their long-awaited return to the Premiership.

"At Thatchers, we value our heritage and our customers, which is why we're delighted to bring our range of ciders to the passionate supporters of both Bristol Rugby and Bristol City at Ashton Gate."

Leicester Tigers are delighted to welcome Holland & Barrett as the club's new main sponsors.

Holland & Barrett is the UK's leading retailer of vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements. Their stores are a familiar sight in almost every major city and town across the UK.

Interest in natural food supplements has increased considerably in recent years and Holland & Barrett has always had a commitment to its customers to provide high quality products at value-for-money prices.

The company has been a prominent partner of the Tigers since September 2010 and will assume main sponsorship, including the front of the team shirt, for the start of 2016/17 as well as taking naming rights for the 10,000-seat North Stand.

Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen said: "Holland & Barrett have become major supporters of the club over the last six years and we are delighted to now welcome them as main partners.

"This is an exciting time for the professional game in England with a vibrant club competition, renewed European competitions and a national team that has just celebrated a Grand Slam and victorious tour of Australia this year.

"The Tigers always endeavour to be at the forefront of the game's development in this country and in Europe, and the strength of our commercial partnerships is fundamental to that.

"We look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship with Holland & Barrett."

Peter Aldis, Holland & Barrett International's chief executive officer, said: "As a Tigers fan and Leicestershire resident, I'm excited and proud to support my local club.

"Holland & Barrett and the Tigers share a common goal in reaching peak health and fitness, and we look forward to fuelling the team and the fans towards a successful campaign."