European Rugby Champions Cup
Euro cup has to wait for new sponsors
ESPN Staff
October 7, 2014
The trophies for the new European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup © Getty Images

European rugby chiefs may have to wait another year to complete the five sponsorship deals for the new-look European Rugby Champions Cup.

Heineken, the title sponsor of the ERCC's predecessor, was confirmed as a "founding partner" of the new tournament, while YouTube and Google had already been announced as secondary tournament partners.

But Paul McNaughton, a director of European Professional Club Rugby, the tournament organisers, admitted the search for four more commercial partners might not be complete until next year.

"Realistically, I would be happy if all five partners were in place for the beginning of next season," he said. "On the commercial front, we could have four or five now, done, but at a much lower value than we ascribe to those sponsor slots. So, again, we're not being smart, but we're trying to play the long game here.

"When you sign a deal, you're signing up for four years and we want to get the best deal for the competition."

He said that the completion of the deals for TV rights in France and Italy could drive further interest from sponsors. "Now that the France TV stuff is over the line it'll give a stimulus to those discussions. It's fantastic to have Heineken on board as one of the founding partners for the new competition.

"If there was pressure on us to get it done in a month or two, to get it all kind of done before the tournament starts, I suspect you'd be giving away an advantage, in commercial terms. We knew as soon as we started as an executive committee last May that it was very unlikely to get five sponsors on.

"We may have a couple of additional [sponsors] by Christmas, but I would project that we will have the five on before the beginning of next season, at the right value."

EPCR finally unveiled trophies, the Gilbert match ball and match officials' kit laid on by Canterbury at Monday's launch in Dublin.

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