Vodafone was today revealed as Lead Partner of the British & Irish Lions for the 2021 Tour of South Africa.
The deal provides a significant financial boost, which is understood to be between £6-7m.
It exceeds the £6.25m paid by Standard Life for the tour of New Zealand in 2017.
As Lead Partner, Vodafone’s logo will be displayed on the front of the Lions’ jersey, making Vodafone an integral part of the ‘Sea of Red’ that will sweep every ground and city it travels to. The sponsorship also includes the provision of communications equipment to keep everyone involved in the Tour connected and technical support for training and player performance.
An industry insider added that it “shows the Lions brand is strong even in a pandemic”.
Vodafone’s sponsorship of the Lions represents a split with the financial services sector, which has provided lead partners for the last four tours (Zurich in 2005, HSBC in 2009 and 2013 and Standard Life in 2017).
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LIST | 4 rugby superstars who MASSIVELY underachieved on Lions tours
Despite being built up to play starring roles for the British & Irish Lions, sometimes it simply doesn’t work out…
1. Stuart Hogg (Scotland) – 2017
After touring with the Lions in Australia four years previously, the Scotland fullback was tipped to be one of Warren Gatland’s key men when they faced the All Blacks in 2017.
However, starting against NZ Provincial Barbarians in the tour opener, Hogg was given a four out of 10 after he made ‘many errors’ and butchered a simple try scoring pass to Anthony Watson in a poor display.
One week later, despite a much improved opening 20 minutes, Hogg was injured after being caught by the elbow of team-mate Conor Murray in an accidental collision, with the superstar departing the tour before the start of the Test Matches.
More down to the pre-tour hype than his poor performance alone, this was so disappointing.