RFU sign new sponsorship deal with BMW
April 13, 2012
Ian Ritchie's standing in sport helped secure BMW as the RFU's new vehicle partner © Getty Images
The Rugby Football Union has agreed a new four-year deal with German carmaker BMW, which will replace Land Rover and become its official vehicle partner from September 2012.
The four-year partnership will see BMW's investment targeted in the development of elite players and includes shirt sponsorship for England Under-20, Under-18 and Under-16 teams.
Since the debacle of the World Cup, which included an incident on a Land Rover sponsors' day, the RFU have signed significant new deals with O2, Canterbury and now BMW.
Stuart Lancaster, England's new head coach, has played a key role in rebuilding the RFU's commercial image after the hammering it took due to events on and off the field in 2011.
Last year the RFU had three different chief executives, while the team's World Cup campaign was dogged by controversy.
"We had to learn some things and we had to do some things differently," the RFU's chief commercial officer Sophie Goldschmidt said. "There has been an acknowledgement of that. The partners we have spoken to have been appreciative of that.
"As an organisation we have really come together and gone back to the key principles and implemented them on and off the pitch. What Stuart has been able to do has been fantastic and definitely had an impact. The appointment of Ian Ritchie as chief executive, given his experience and integrity throughout sport, was an added plus.
"People really believe in our sport. Rugby is a strong sport, we have the 2015 World Cup coming to this country, the third largest sporting event in the world. Those factors combined have meant we have made some important positive strides recently."
It is understood Land Rover responded to that work and were interested in retaining their connection with the RFU but Twickenham opted for BMW as their official vehicle partner.
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