Scottish Rugby Partners With Rbs In Landmark Deal

Scottish Rugby and RBS today announced the most significant and far-reaching partnership in the history of the Scottish game.

The three and a half year relationship (from December 2010 until May 2014)  will see a universal, top-to-bottom alignment between the two organisations, with RBS, as principle partner of Scottish Rugby, partnering on all aspects of the game in Scotland, including the governing body’s community activity,  grassroots initiatives, domestic league and cup competitions, and Scotland’s age-grade and national teams.

Scottish Rugby and RBS today announced the most significant and far-reaching partnership in the history of the Scottish game.

The three and a half year relationship (from December 2010 until May 2014)  will see a universal, top-to-bottom alignment between the two organisations, with RBS, as principle partner of Scottish Rugby, partnering on all aspects of the game in Scotland, including the governing body’s community activity,  grassroots initiatives, domestic league and cup competitions, and Scotland’s age-grade and national teams.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Gordon McKie said: “We are delighted to have secured RBS as our principal partner for Scottish Rugby. We are focused on growing our sport at all levels and this integrated partnership with RBS will enable us to build upon our growth plans across the game.

“With the Scotland national team achieving success on the park (currently ranked 7th in the world) and a significant number of people taking up rugby across Scotland, the sport is in great shape. Attracting such a high profile brand is testimony to the hard work undertaken by all those involved in the game.

“What pleases me most about this innovative partnership is that RBS have been very keen to not only demonstrate a determined commitment to assisting Scottish Rugby in our drive to grow the game at all levels across the country, but also in helping us to further promote the attractions of watching our international teams in action.

“This partnership is great news for the whole rugby community in Scotland, and Scotland as a nation, and we look forward to working with RBS in the years ahead.”

Scottish Rugby also announced today that the Murray Group has extended its sponsorship of the Scotland national team. The deal, previously due to conclude at the end of November after the EMC Autumn Tests, has been extended to 31 March 2011, after the RBS 6 Nations 2011 matches.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Gordon McKie paid tribute to Murray Group for their valued support in the last three years.

McKie added: “Sir David Murray and the Murray Group have been, and continue to be, great supporters of Scottish Rugby. Their significant investment in the game in Scotland has enabled Scottish Rugby and the rugby community to develop both on and off the park.  I’d like to thank Sir David and the Murray Group for agreeing to extend their relationship and continuing to back Scottish Rugby.”

Earlier this year, Scottish Rugby surpassed its strategic growth target to grow its playing base by 50%, two years ahead of schedule.

Through this new partnership, RBS and Scottish Rugby will work together on a programme of reinforced community activity which will engage the bank’s 340 strong branch network and 4,000 staff across Scotland to further support the governing body’s success in growing the game through the clubs in their communities.

The community commitment will begin with an enhanced RugbyForce Scotland programme being rolled out across the country. The first demonstration of this will be the expansion of the RugbyForce facilities programme which supports local rugby clubs’ maintenance and improvement projects, as well as more ambitious redevelopments.

Entering its third year, RBS RugbyForce helps clubs to improve their facilities by providing guidance and tools to help organise a community- wide effort to give the club a make-over. It is an opportunity for clubs to gather members, supporters, friends and family for a weekend of fun-filled DIY. RBS staff and customers will be encouraged to support this programme with the aim of making RugbyForce Scotland the largest volunteering programme in Scottish Sport. Last year, over 400 clubs registered across the UK for the programme, with the number set to increase in 2011.

This new partnership will provide RBS with a platform to deliver increased support for the wider community, a commitment set out in its Customer Charter, and the opportunity to provide customers with more access to Scottish Rugby events as a supporter, player or volunteer.

Charlie Smith, Brand and Partnerships Director from RBS said: “This is a great opportunity for RBS to do something unique in Scotland that is great for our customers and delivers against the commitment we made in our Customer Charter – to support the communities we live and work in.

“This partnership goes well beyond simple sponsorship where we will work with Scottish Rugby to grow the game in Scotland and give children the chance to participate in rugby, that may not have previously had the opportunity, through our ongoing relationship with Barnardo’s.

“Our customers will benefit through access to the sport at all levels and unique experiences that money can’t buy. RBS will not physically appear on the shirts of our national team until after the Six Nations but we will be working closely with Scottish Rugby, starting here in North Berwick today, to put in place a volunteering programme, RBS RugbyForce, to help upgrade and maintain local rugby club facilities. It is an exciting time to be getting behind the national team and just one of a number of ways that we are changing the way we operate as a bank.”

In addition, RBS customers, business partners and their charity partner, Barnardo’s Scotland, will get direct access to events, playing and coaching staff.

Chris Paterson, the first male player to win 100 caps for Scotland, today expressed his delight at the tie-up, saying: “It’s great news for the game that RBS are to be involved to such an extent across the board.

“I’ve been involved in the RBS RugbyForce programme in previous seasons – it’s a fantastic tool that allows clubs to continue to grow and to develop their facilities.

“These clubs are where the majority of our youngsters have their first contact with the sport, and the support from RBS will help open up even more opportunities for that to happen.”

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “This sponsorship deal is excellent news for Scottish rugby and will build on the great success of the EMC Autumn Tests. The squad is in great shape following a run of notable victories and reaching our highest ever world ranking. This is a welcome boost for all levels of rugby in Scotland as we look ahead to the RBC Six Nations next spring.”

The bulk of the new rights and activity acquired by RBS will commence in time for the 2011/12 season. Further details will be unveiled in the coming months.