The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group has agreed a deal to extend its title sponsorship of rugby's Six Nations tournament for a further four years. The news comes at the end of this year's thrilling tournament, which generated huge amounts of media, and public, interest in the six participating nations. The previous RBS sponsorship was for three years, beginning 2003, and was worth around £22m. The new agreement represents the largest commercial partnership in European rugby history, and confirms the status of rugby as a prime target for big name sponsors. A recent report from Irish based market research company Amarach Consulting found that the Six Nations is now considered one of the "dream sponsorship properties" by businesses in that country.
Speaking about the sponsorship extension, Howard Moody, group director, communications, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group said: "The RBS Six Nations is the only major sporting event that sees nations across Europe pit themselves against each other on an annual basis, making it the greatest annual rugby tournament in the world". He continued: "The excitement of the RBS Six Nations is highlighted by three different winners of the Championship in the first three years of our sponsorship and by extending our association for a further four years we have shown our long-term commitment to the sport and the tournament".