The Welsh Rugby Union today (Wednesday 16th September) announced a one year extension to its shirt sponsorship deal with S.A Brain & Co Ltd, which will keep Wales’ leading hospitality and brewing company on the Welsh national jersey up to and including Wales’ summer tour of New Zealand in 2010 in exchange for a further six-figure contribution to the national game.
On the field the ‘Brains years’ have brought two Grand Slams in 2005 and 2008, double wins over Australia in those same years as well as a draw in 2006, four wins in six clashes with England and the first ever IRB World Player of the year award to a Welshman – Shane Williams for his world beating form in the 2007/08 season.
Off the field the latest industry statistics* show that ‘Brains’ has risen to be the no. 1 ale in Wales, along with numerous national marketing awards the most recent being the Hollis Sponsorship awards gained for ‘sponsorship continuity’.
In the 59 internationals since Brains first began their commitment to Welsh rugby in October 2004 Wales have won 30, lost 27 and drawn two, scoring 1,610 points and 181 tries.
The new deal means head coach Warren Gatland’s men will bring the total of matches played with the famous logo emblazoned across their chests – in a variety of guises from ‘Brawn’ to ‘Try Essai’ to ‘SA Gold’ and simply ‘Brains’ - to a grand total of at least 70, before any potential new sponsor is to be revealed.
"The WRU’s relationship with Brains has been a long and fruitful one and this new deal, which takes us into year six of name shirt sponsorship, is particularly welcome in the present financial climate," said WRU Group head of marketing Gwyn Dolphin.
"Re-signing with Brains was the perfect answer on this occasion, the relationship continues to be mutually beneficial and it is with great enthusiasm that we welcome them back to the WRU sponsorship family for the good of all parties," said Dolphin.
"Sales outlets throughout Wales and beyond are being restocked as we announce this deal with a new wave of merchandise including a full range of the replica Brains jerseys.
"The Wales replica jersey has always been one of the most popular in world rugby, a recent poll saw us hold second place on shirt sales figures only behind New Zealand and Wales scores particularly highly when fans are asked to choose a second shirt in addition to the main country they support."
With the newly signed participation agreement in place between the WRU and each of its four rugby Regions there is now also scope to add two more fixtures in the season - with the intention to play at least one of these next June already made public – which could take the Brains tally up to a potential 72 games.
Richard Davies, Sales and Marketing Director at Brains said: "We’ve already enjoyed five successful years as sponsor, during which time we have witnessed two Grand Slams and many memorable victories home and away, and we’re delighted that the Brains name will be seen on Welsh shirts for another year.
"The branding on the shirts will remain the same as last season – ‘Brains SA’ on the home shirt and ‘SA Gold’ on the change shirt – meaning we have another opportunity to promote two of our key cask ale brands."