SCOTTISH RUGBY today announced that it has extended its partnership with BT for a further three years running from June 2018. This means that broadcast and telecommunications giants will retain the naming rights to the national stadium, alongside its role as principal partner of the Scotland national team and the Scotland 7s squad. The new deal continues a relationship first unveiled in May 2014, which is is understood to have been worth around £20 million over four years.
BT will no longer be the title sponsor for certain areas of the game such as the domestic leagues and cups, the four regional academies, the national age-grade and women’s teams, and the nation’s two pro teams (Glasgow Warriors have already swapped their shirt sponsorship to SP Energy Networks on a three-year deal running to the summer of 2020) – but Dominic McKay, Scottish Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer, insisted that this will not have a negative impact on the governing body’s ability to invest in these areas of the game.
“As principal partner of Scottish Rugby, BT’s investment will continue to be directed across all levels of our game so that the projects and activities we were able to embark upon in 2014 will continue to be invested in as before,” he said. “What we have been able to do is negotiate the sponsorship rights for some of these initiatives back to Scottish Rugby, so that we can take them to the market place in due course and hopefully secure further investment in our game.”
“Because they appreciate the value of what we have to offer, and they can see the good that their support is doing, BT are happy to hand back these rights and allow us to speak to other potential investors about becoming part of this journey.”
“It is a three-year cycle as opposed to four years last time, and it a fairly wide ranging deal, so it is hard to make a like-for-like comparison. But the value is as significant as our initial arrangement with BT.”
“This is a good day for Scottish rugby on two counts,” he added. “Firstly, it allows us to continue and grow our investment in the game at all levels. Secondly, it demonstrates that a major plc which has already made a significant investment wants to continue working with us – in the current economic climate it would have been easy for them to find a reason not to renew but they have shown that they enjoy being part of the Scottish rugby family – so that sends out an important message to the other blue-chip companies we would like to bring on board.”
“Our counterparts at BT have been brilliant to work with and we look forward to continuing our relationship in the coming years. We are very proud of the way we deliver and support for our partners and this significant extension demonstrates the confidence and understanding we have built up with BT in recent years.”
“This new deal will enable Scottish Rugby to continue to move forward on and off the pitch and clearly demonstrates we are open for business, with a fantastic product we are very proud of.”
Mark Dodson, Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive, said: “Over the past three years we have built an excellent relationship with BT and worked closely with them to ensure their investment made a material difference to the game in Scotland. This confidence has enabled us to have proactive negotiations with them to ensure they could continue as a principal partner.
“I believe we are just beginning to see the fruits of this investment and we are delighted this partnership will now be extended for a further three years, enabling BT to continue to support our ambitions for rugby at every level.”
Graham Sutherland, Chief Executive for BT Business and Public sector, said: “I am very pleased BT is continuing its relationship and investing in Scottish rugby with this sponsorship until 2021. BT is a proud supporter of Scotland and we hope to continue seeing further success on the pitch. This partnership allows BT to continue its commitment to support innovation and the development of the game in Scotland, as well as being the home of the Aviva Premiership rugby and European rugby.”