RFU rules out sponsorship drive

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) will not go chasing after sponsors to boost its commercial revenues despite posting a £6.3m loss.

England rugby chiefs rule out ramping up sponsorship push despite posting a £6.3m loss.

The announcement comes after the organisation revealed it made a loss of £6.3m for the year to 30 June as a result of fewer England matches at the team’s national Twickenham stadium.

Despite the loss, the RFU says it will continue to forge more long-term sponsorship deals around grassroots initiatives as it looks to drive sustainable growth around the sport.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Sophie Goldschmidt, RFU chief commercial officer, says: “Sponsorship revenue remained strong for the year decreasing only slightly, mainly reflecting the reduced autumn programme. On a comparative year to year basis our sponsorship revenue has increased significantly over the past 12 months.”

The organisation has signed new and expanded agreements with partners including O2 and BMW during this period to drive more sustainable growth around grassroots initiatives in the run-up to the 2015 World Cup, which will be hosted by England. Earlier this week, it penned a new five-year sponsorship deal with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Goldschmidt adds: “The sport of rugby union and its associated core values continue to be very attractive to partners and we have refined the number of partnerships and assets so that they run deeper, providing a meaningful level of support for more areas of the game.”

England rugby chiefs recently announced plans for a £76m upgrade of Twickenham Stadium and a £26m investment in the community game to take advantage of the 2015 World Cup legacy.

The reported losses are covered by reserves set aside in the previous three profitable years of the World Cup cycle ensuring the RFU’s investment in the sport is not affected. The organisation loses money during every World Cup season because there are no autumn internationals and England only have two matches in the Six Nations.

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