English body Premiership Rugby and its French counterpart Ligue Nationale de Rugby confirmed last week the alternative to the Heineken Cup would start next season.
It will be contested by teams from the English Premiership Rugby and French Top 14 competitions but will also be open to Celtic and Italian teams.
Dominic Hayes, commercial director of Premiership Rugby told Marketing Week that despite the controversy the break-away has caused there has been “no effect” on the attractiveness of the proposition to sponsors and it has already had discussions with “a number of interested parties”. It is confident of finalising a deal in the ”next couple of months”, Hayes adds but it is still “open for business”, he stresses, and has not agreed any deal with any brand yet.
It is selling the competition to prospective sponsors as a “premium proposition” that features the game’s “elite”, Haynes says.
The unveiling of the Rugby Champions Cup stems from Anglo-French concerns over the system of qualification for the Heineken Cup, which English Premiership Rugby and French Top 14 chiefs claim favours Celtic League sides – only six English and French teams are guaranteed a place in the Heineken Cup compared with with 10 Scottish, Welsh, Italian and Irish sides.
English and French clubs are also unhappy with the split of revenues from broadcasting rights and sponsorship deals.
BT Sports will broadcast the competition and the broadcaster will also be involved in developing marketing plans to launch the competition. The strategy will be unveiled later this year., Hayes adds.