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British & Irish Lions sign Vodafone as lead sponsor for 2021 South Africa Tour

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The British & Irish Lions have signed Vodafone as lead sponsor ahead of the team’s tour to South Africa in 2021.

The brand will take the role of front-of-shirt sponsor for the tour. The sponsorship also includes the provision of communications for the Tour party and technical support for training and player performance.

SportBusiness understands from sports industry sources that Standard Life paid around £6.25m ($8.3m/€7.3m) for the front-of-shirt rights on the Lions Tour of New Zealand in 2017, up on the approximately £5m HSBC paid for the Lions Tour of Australia in 2013.

The CSM Sport & Entertainment agency is the official sponsorship agency for both the British and Irish Lions and South Africa Rugby for the 2021 Lions Tour and one of its central remits was finding a front-of-shirt sponsor for both properties.

The news follows the acquisition of the exclusive UK broadcast rights to the tour by pay-television broadcaster Sky.

Recently, it was revealed that The Lions and South Africa Rugby will combine their commercial offerings to allow broadcasters, partners and licensees to fully leverage and activate around a new centralised programme. This will be the the first time a Lions Tour has formed this commercial structure.

The deal with Vodafone further extends the company’s presence in rugby, with the company already holding the main sponsor designation with the Irish national team and English club side Wasps.