With the 2013 British and Irish Lions first game just weeks away, global logistics firm DHL has announced a partnership with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to become the naming rights partner of the tour.

The agreement with the ARU, the hosts of the tour, will see the nine-match series renamed as the DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour.

The deal signifies a welcome boost for the ARU, who announced a loss of AUS$8.3 million in April, followed by the reported talks over the tour naming rights with Australian bank Westpac which were believed to have broken down in early May.

It is not yet known what financial investment was required from DHL to secure the naming rights, however South African Breweries Ltd (SAB) paid US$2.5 million for title sponsorship of the last Lions tour in South Africa in 2009.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said: "DHL is one of the world's most iconic rugby partners and a natural choice as the naming rights partner for the tour. A British & Irish Lions Tour is unlike any other event in world sport and we are extremely excited to partner with DHL to deliver what promises to be the most successful tour in Australian rugby history.

"12 years ago we sold 300,000 tickets. This year we're on track to see 400,000 fans walk through the gates to celebrate one the world's most iconic sporting teams taking on the cream of Australian rugby. With only a handful of tickets left, the DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour is shaping up as the must-see sporting event of the year."

DHL Express senior vice president Oceania, Gary Edstein, added: "DHL is excited to bring the Lions down under as partner of the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia. As a sport played all over the world, rugby is the perfect fit for DHL as a global brand.

"DHL is proud of past associations with rugby which are almost as far reaching as our network. DHL supports Rugby teams in Kenya, South Africa and Fiji. We also successfully delivered rugby to the world as the official logistics partner of Rugby World Cup 2011 and were a partner of the 2005 DHL Lions Series of New Zealand."

The DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour gets underway on Wednesday 5th June with the tourists taking on the Western Force at Patersons Stadium in Perth, with the first test to take place on June 22nd at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Published in Sponsorship