The online division of bookmakers Coral has signed a two-year shirt sponsorship deal with Premier Rugby ahead of the start of this year’s Guinness Premiership season this weekend.
Coral.co.uk joins the official partner line-up for the competition in a deal involving branding on the reverse of the shirts of all 12 clubs. It is the first time the company has backed professional club-level rugby union, as the company has previously focused on horse racing.
The deal comes as the company continues to make inroads into the sports sponsorship arena in the face of increasing pressure from online betting and gaming companies.
Under the new shirt deal, Coral.co.uk will roll out a donation “bounce back” scheme, which directly rewards clubs when their supporters open an account with the company.
It also plans to launch a celebrity supporter betting challenge giving clubs the opportunity to raise money for their development programmes.
The deal comes as the brand signs up former London Wasps and England scrum half Matt Dawson as the ambassador for the brand.
The company has also launched a dedicated rugby website with up-to-the-minute betting information and a statistical database on professional rugby to coincide with the deal.