The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is to sign Welsh brewer Brains as the sponsor for the national team’s shirt to replace the Reebok-owned outdoor clothing and footwear brand Rockport.
The Rockport brand has been the main sponsor of the Welsh team since 2002 but now has limited UK distribution (MW August 8, 2002). Reebok recently extended its support of the team with a renewal of its sponsorship as the official kit supplier to the WRU.
Brains is the largest producer of real ale in Wales and owns more than 200 pubs in the country. It will supply beer to the WRU’s Millennium stadium, and it is understood to be planning to exploit the sponsorship by playing on its own Welsh roots.
The deal is a crucial source of income for the WRU, which has debts of around &£67m. It was signed by WRU marketing director Gwyn Thomas, who was hired last year (MW March 27, 2003). The naming rights to the Millennium Stadium are also up for grabs along with other sponsorship packages.