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O2 will offer customers tickets to watch the England Rugby team at Twickenham, as part of an extension of its long-standing sponsorship deal with the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

The four year tie-up, which extends the existing deal beyond the 2015 World Cup, will give O2 customers priority access to tickets for the national team’s domestic matches.

No financial deals were disclosed, but O2 CEO Ronan Dunne described the renewal as a “bigger deal than previous commercial partnerships”, which could reportedly earn the RFU more than £4m a year.

As part of the new deal, O2 and the RFU will launch a raft of digital marketing campaigns at Twickenham using mobile devices. The operator will remain as the RFU’s exclusive telecommunications provider.

This latest partnership will see O2 continue to be displayed on the senior England, Saxons and women’s team kits in all competitions.

The national side faced criticism last year during the World Cup in New Zealand after players, including former captain Mike Tindall, were involved in a series of off-field scandals. However, Dunne said this was not an issue when reviewing the new deal.

“We review all our commercial arrangements and with the new deal, we’ve put in place a strategy to deliver value to our consumers,” he said, “Our focus was very much on looking forward rather than looking back.”

O2 will also support the RFU’s grassroots scheme alongside GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which also signed a four-year deal with the governing body last month.

Sophie Goldschmidt, who left the NBA to become the RFU’s chief commercial officer last May said: “For our new strategy we’re looking at partnerships that can be fully integrated into as many areas of the RFU as possible. While they don’t all have to involve the grassroots aspects of the game, but they need to be multi-faceted.”

This story first appeared on Marketing Week

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Published 7 February, 2012 by NMA Staff

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