HSBC To Sponsor 6N?

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23 October 2018

The Guardian said this week that the Six Nations is set to unveil HSBC as the championship’s new title sponsor. HSBC, which sponsored the 2009 and 2013 British & Irish Lions tours of South Africa and Australia respectively, is in line to replace NatWest after just one year.

NatWest was parachuted in for the 2018 Six Nations only after the organisers were forced to admit that their initial valuation of the rights were too high for the market to bear.

Following the 2017 championshp, Six Nations Rugby cut ties with RBS after 14 years, rejecting the bank’s bid to extend its deal because it felt the rights were worth £100m over six years. But with external factors such as Brexit creating uncertainty in the sponsorship market, no one was willing to pay such a price. That forced the organisers into giving NatWest, an RBS subsidiary, a cut-price one-year deal for 2018, worth a reported £11m – considerably less than RBS’s previous offer to extend.

It is believed HSBC – which also sponsors the World Sevens Series – expressed an interest in partnering the Six Nations last year but were keen on the combined rights for the championship and the Lions. It remains to be seen if the Six Nations deal will lead to an agreement with the Lions – Standard Life was the title sponsor for the 2017 New Zealand tour.

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