Guinness has been confirmed as the new title sponsor of the Six Nations, with the Championship to be renamed as the Guinness Six Nations from 2019.
The new six-year deal strengthens the Irish stout brand’s commitment to rugby, adding to its portfolio that includes the Guinness PRO14 and partnerships with the four Home Unions as well as leading European clubs Leinster and Munster.
Guinness says it will use the partnership “to champion both the player and fan experience,” committing to encourage adult fans watching or attending the games to drink responsibly.
Commenting on the agreement, 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.
“Guinness are world leaders and our partnership between two iconic brands will enable us to reach new audiences on a global scale.
“We could not be more excited to be working with the Guinness team over the coming years on developing new and innovative ways to connect with our fans and consumers.”
Diageo President for Europe, Turkey and India, John Kennedy added: “We are really looking forward to the start of the Guinness Six Nations in February 2019.
“Working with the Six Nations, we want to enhance both the Championship and the fan experience whilst using the partnership to encourage the adult fans watching, or attending, the games to drink responsibly.”
Mark Sandys, global head of beer, Baileys and Smirnoff at Diageo said: “This announcement affirms our long-standing support for the game of rugby and cements our position as one of the world’s biggest rugby supporters.
“We truly believe in the power of sport to connect communities and we’ll be working with the Six Nations to ensure that fans’ experience of the Guinness Six Nations is their best yet.”
Guinness takes over Six Nations title sponsorship from NatWest, which took on a one-year deal last season after the Six Nations ended its longstanding agreement with RBS.
The value of the rights is believed to have dropped considerably from the reported £100 million six-year asking price with which Six Nations went to market in 2017.