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Guinness brewery announced it would take over as title sponsor of the prestigious Six Nations tournament a few days before the British pound dropped to $1.26, its lowest rate since June of 2017.
The title sponsorship was once the sole purview for 14-years of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). But, since the world-wide financial debacle of 2008, RBS could not continue to justify a sponsor’s expense on rugby. In addition, there is a cloud of uncertainty dangling over all Great Britain’s financial future after BREXIT.
The Irish brewery replaced NatWest, which assumed the title role for a one-year period in 2018.
Guinness is owned by Diageo, the world’s largest alcohol distiller, whose brands include the gins Tanqueray, Gordon's, and Booth's, Captain Morgan rum, Smirnoff, and Ketel One vodka, Johnnie Walker and J & B Scotch, Seagram’s Crown Royal rye, and other brands.
The deal with Guinness includes a sharp discount from what the Six Nations had been paid by RBS (£14m or $17.6 million). Guinness will begin at £6m ($7.6 million) and the annual fee will increase during the six-year contract.
Six Nations CEO Benjamin Morel said: “We are absolutely delighted to enhance our long-standing relationship with Guinness and they will be a terrific title sponsor for Rugby’s greatest championship. Guinness are world leaders and our partnership between two great iconic brands will enable us to reach new audiences on a global scale.”