Scottish Courage is to quit its ten-year sponsorship of the Rugby Football Union league after the RFU asked for more money.
Courage’s last three-year contract with rugby cost an estimated 5m. The new league is understood to be seeking 7.5m over the same period.
But the new sponsor will get a lot less for its money as the deal only includes sponsorship of the first and second divisions, which cover the 24 top clubs in England.
The existing sponsorship covers all four divisions and representation at a range of domestic competitions involving 1,000 clubs.
Next season’s deal is being negotiated by a joint company formed by the RFU and the English Professional Rugby Union Club, under the working title Newco.
Kim Deshayes, chief executive of the English Professional Rugby Union Club, says: “The indications are that it is unlikely Courage will be the title sponsor for the next season. We are in talks with a number of companies and expect to make an announcement in a month.”
A Scottish Courage spokesman says: “We’ve not decided yet. The game has gone through a lot of changes and rugby is asking for an increase in sponsorship.”