Mega sponsorship deal beckons for Irish rugby

RugbyBy Sunday World
New sponsorship deal beckons for Irish rugby
New sponsorship deal beckons for Irish rugby

Vodafone are favourites to land the coveted Irish rugby sponsorship when the current deal with Three expires in May.

Chief executive Philip Browne poured scorn on reports of a 10-year, €50m deal, but admitted the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) have a new sponsor in sight.

Browne perhaps crucially however, declined to deny that Vodafone are the main company in the running for the new deal.

"We have an excellent sponsorship with Three which runs until the end of the current season," said Browne.

"We're working with their people in relation to the Rugby World Cup and to the Six Nations. Yes we have another sponsor in place lined up to take over.

"I'm not at liberty to say who they are but one thing I can say is that figures bandied about of €50m are so totally off the wall that I don't know where they came from.

"I'm not going to tell you what the figures are, but they are a fraction of that."

The IRFU entered into a long-term sponsorship deal with 02 in 2006, with that company later rebranded as Three.

The 10-year association will end in May, paving the way for rival mobile phone giant Vodafone to step into the breach.