CSM gets sponsorship remit for Women's Six Nations
By Simon Ward
CSM Sport and Entertainment, the UK-based international agency, has been appointed to attract commercial partners for the Women’s Six Nations, the annual national teams rugby union competition.
As the strategic partner and exclusive sponsorship agency of the competition, CSM will build on an association that has already involved the agency carrying out a strategic brand review for the tournament, which, like its male counterpart, involves England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy.
However, the Women’s Six Nations does not presently have dedicated sponsors, and Ben Morel, who joined Six Nations Rugby as chief executive in late 2018, is eager to raise its commercial profile.
CSM claims to have undertaken qualitative and quantitative research into perceptions of the women’s competition, helping to establish a target audience, fan base and commercial strategy.
The agency is well established in rugby union, and is serving as the exclusive sponsorship agency for the British and Irish Lions’ 2021 tour of South Africa, the fourth successive tour in which it will be involved, but the first in which it will have rights to both the Lions and the Springboks.
Speaking of the agency’s new assignment in the women’s game, Charlie McEwen, chief executive of rugby and special projects at CSM, said: “It’s been fantastic working with the Women’s Six Nations to reposition the brand and establish the foundations for future growth. At CSM, we have a rich heritage working in rugby and will look to leverage the experience and understanding we have across the business, to propel the competition on its new journey. The opportunity with women’s rugby has never been greater, so we look forward to finding future commercial partners for the property.”
Morel added: “The development of the Women’s Six Nations is an absolute priority for me and it’s fantastic to have CSM working with us to help refresh our offering and secure new partnerships. We are confident that their strong history in rugby, coupled with our own expertise, will bring about an exciting new chapter for the Women’s Six Nations.”
Given the growth in prominence of women's sport in Europe, the Six Nations will be hopeful of emulating the success of other governing bodies such as England's Football Association, which attracted Barclays as the title sponsor for its Women's Super League, and Uefa, whose new sponsors for major women's competitions include soft drinks and snacks giant PepsiCo.
The 2020 Women's Six Nations has still to be completed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but is set to resume, alongside the men’s edition, on 25 October, with all remaining six matches to be played by early December.
The women’s competition dates back to 1995 and expanded to six teams, with the entry of Italy, in 2002. England, France and Ireland have all been crowned champions in the last decade.
Guinness serves as the title sponsor of the men’s Six Nations, supported by other partners in Amazon Web Services, Dove Men+Care and Tissot.
Pitch International, another UK-based agency, holds international media rights (excluding the participating territories) to both the men's and women's Six Nations up to and including the 2021 competition.
Meanwhile, England’s Rugby Football Union could be in line for a much-needed financial boost after it was reported that mobile phone operator O2 has agreed to extend its long-running shirt sponsorship deal for the national teams.
The current contract is due to expire next year, but O2, which is owned by Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica, is set to stay on, with the deal for the 2021-22 season onwards worth more than £7.5 million ($9.6 million) per year, according to the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
This would represent a significant boost for the RFU in a difficult economic climate brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, which is forcing all England home matches to be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.
O2 has been a partner of England Rugby, initially as BT Cellnet, since the sport turned professional back in 1995.Sportcal