O2 to digitally ‘evolve’ rugby sponsorship ahead of 2015 World Cup

O2 is looking to inject “unique digital experiences” to its England Rugby sponsorship strategy in the build up to the 2015 World Cup as it seeks to boost customer loyalty and differentiate itself in the intensely competitive UK 4G mobile operator market.

O2 England Rugby

The operator has parted company with the nine-year incumbent of its sponsorship activation account, IMG Consulting, and appointed M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment to lead its technology innovation-led strategy. It says its new agency showed “stand out creative thinking, backed up with strong O2 digital and rugby expertise” in the pitch process.

O2 renewed its partnership with the Rugby Football Union last year, when it also dropped its 10-year sponsorship of Arsenal Football Club as it looked to concentrate its sponsorship efforts on rugby, its Academy venues and its Priority Sports initiative. 

Since then O2 has expanded its rewards scheme to customers who are rugby fans, giving customers priority access to tickets for the England national team’s domestic matches and launching O2 Matchday this February, providing a live feed from the referee to fans not able to attend games at Twickenham.

Rugby was also a key differentiator from competitors when O2 announced its content offering for 4G customers. While Vodafone has deals with Sky Sports and Spotify and EE offers 4G customers a choice between a Deezer subscription, games downloads or access to live TV channels, among O2’s exclusive 4G content choices is free access to its Priority Sports app, which has been upgraded to include video from the England rugby squad. 

Steve Martin, CEO at M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment, told Marketing Week: “O2 has done a great job already [in its rugby sponsorship activation] but we looked at how we can make it even better and build on that with bit of a crystal ball as to what’s going to come next in technology [in the build up to the 2015 World Cup]. Three weeks is a long time in digital, never mind three years. We have some great technology under wraps and a few tricks up our sleeve.”

O2 has been a sponsor of the England rugby team since 1995.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here