Monday 22 January 2018

RaboDirect signs off on 'fabulous' Pro12 link-up

Dutch bank RaboDirect are ending their sponsorship of the Pro12. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Dutch bank RaboDirect are ending their sponsorship of the Pro12. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

The Pro12 will have a new name from next season, but outgoing sponsors RaboDirect believe they got everything they needed from their association with the tournament.

The online bank came on board after Magners' sponsorship came to an end and have acted as title sponsors for three seasons, during which time Ospreys and Leinster have been crowned champions, with the Irish province bidding for two in a row against Glasgow Warriors tomorrow evening.

With Brian O'Driscoll and Leo Cullen bidding farewell to a full house at the RDS, it is expected to be quite an occasion at a venue where all three finals have taken place under the Dutch bank's sponsorship.

The competition is often maligned by fans, players and pundits, but RaboDirect general manager Tim Bicknell says the company couldn't have asked for more from their sponsorship.

And with Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald acknowledging that the change in European qualification rules will impact positively on their commitment to the tournament, the competition should improve in years to come.

"It has been fabulous to be involved," Bicknell said. "It has been amazing for a foreign bank which has been here for 10 years to be associated with this competition and it has brought our brand name recognition to a new level.

"It connects us with a stellar demographic and it is a game that elicits such passion and engagement with fans. We've been lucky in the success that Irish rugby has had during our three years involved."

RaboDirect took a fan-centric approach rather than a corporate model, using ambassadors like Keith Wood to engage with customers on social media and other platforms.

Ahead of this week's final, they flew Isa Nacewa back to Dublin and he took a training session with a team from St Brigid's NS in Cabinteely yesterday as part of the build-up.

Irish Independent

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