O2 extends England Rugby sponsorship for five years

O2 has signed a five-year extension to its sponsorship of England's rugby team, making it one of world sport's longest-standing brand partnerships.

(L-R): RFU CEO Ian Ritchie; England Rugby head coach Eddie Jones; O2 head of marketing Nina Bibby; and O2 CEO Mark Evans
(L-R): RFU CEO Ian Ritchie; England Rugby head coach Eddie Jones; O2 head of marketing Nina Bibby; and O2 CEO Mark Evans

The mobile network provider’s sponsorship of the Rugby Football Union dates back to 1995 when the sport turned professional.

The new contract, which expires in September 2021, will see O2 and England Rugby work together to explore how digital tech will play more of a role in the fan experience during match days at Twickenham Stadium and by using O2’s Priority platform.

O2’s brand campaign "Wear the rose", created by VCCP and launched at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, will become "more central" to its support of England match days, the company said, by encouraging fans to show their support to the team physically and digitally.

Exclusive pre-match video content will be made available through the Priority app two days before any other provider, including behind-the-scenes coverage in the series O2 Inside Line.

O2 customers will also get access Priority Tickets for England home matches at Twickenham.

Mark Evans, O2’s chief executive who replaced Ronan Dunne in August, said: "This new agreement is a testament to our sponsorship strategy, focussing on high quality, long-term partnerships.

"Rugby is in O2’s DNA and we’re excited to take this fantastic sport to even more people than ever before, from grassroots to elite. We will continue to passionately support the team through 'Wear the rose' with a commitment to using technology and connectivity to bring our customers and rugby fans across the country even closer to the action."

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