British & Irish Lions appoints Accelerate for South Africa tour

LONDON - The British & Irish Lions rugby union team has appointed Accelerate as its exclusive commercial broker and sponsorship manager for its 2009 tour of South Africa.

The deal means that all sponsorship management aspects for the tour, which will be one of the biggest events in the 2009 rugby calendar, will be handled by Accelerate.

John Feehan, British Lions chief executive, said that Accelerate were chosen because senior members of its staff had previously worked with the Lions in 2001 and 2005, and for the company's knowledge of the South African market.

Accelerate staff also worked on sponsorship management for the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa.

He said: "The Lions' committee recognise that a critical part of ensuring success on the field is to develop a team off the field that has experience and empathy with the squad's needs."

Charlie McEwan, head of sponsorship and consultancy at Accelerate, added: "Accelerate's senior staff's experience of running the 1995 Ruby World Cup in South Africa, together with our proven track record, demonstrates that we are ideally placed to ensure the tour is a resounding commercial success."

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