HSBC Stands Behind World Rugby Despite Uncertain 2021 - Sponsor Spotlight

Also: FIBA names global telecommunications partner; Umbro signs agreements with two African national football teams

(ATR) World Rugby admits the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series won’t return to a full competition schedule until 2022 due to restrictions still in place to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

But title sponsor HSBC plans to stay and support the federation through the tough times.

"Like many sports, rugby sevens has had a difficult year. Although there’s likely to be further challenges ahead, the next twelve months can represent a time of optimism and opportunity for the sport at every level," Jonathan Castleman, HSBC Group Head of Brand & Brand Partnerships, said in a statement.

"With Tokyo on the horizon and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series set to return, rugby sevens will once again take its place at the pinnacle of global sport and serve as a reminder of its ability to bring us together. We remain a committed partner of the fans, players, coaches and stakeholders at the heart of this great sport and stand ready to help it build back stronger than ever in 2021 and beyond."

2021 contingency scheduling for both the men’s and women’s circuits will be decided early in the new year. Two men’s events scheduled for April in Singapore and Hong Kong have already been moved to October and November respectively.

Two women’s events will be played over consecutive weekends in May at the French national rugby center in Marcoussis.

"We are continuing to work hard on the contingency planning for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2021 and would like to thank our commercial, broadcast and host organization partners for their unwavering support during this unprecedented scenario," World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said.

"We look forward to returning to a full HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022 to drive the sport forwards and build on the increased interest and awareness that will be created by the Olympic rugby sevens in 2021."

FIBA Names Telecommunications Partner

FIBA and Smart, the Philippines' leading mobile services provider, are teaming up in a global partnership ahead of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

The International Basketball Federation has granted Smart exclusivity in the category of telecommunications worldwide.

The four-year partnership provides key commercial rights across all FIBA competitions, including the men's and women's Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, FIBA Continental Cups for both men and women, FIBA Youth World Cups, the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022 and FIBA's pinnacle event, the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2023.

Smart will play a pivotal role in the lead up to, and during, the 2023 World Cup. The tournament is set to take place for the first time across three countries - the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia - from August 25 to September 10, 2023.

The Group Phase will be held across all three host countries, with the Final Phase to follow in the Philippine capital of Manila.

"This is a huge step in bringing our athletes closer to the world stage. Smart has always been at the forefront when it comes to supporting Filipino athletes and their journey to greatness," said Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart president and CEO.

Umbro Signs Two African Countries

Umbro this week signed long-term partnerships with two national football teams.

The English sportswear and football equipment supplier announced four-year deals with the Sierra Leone Football Association and the Federation of Uganda Football Associations.

Beginning in early 2021, Umbro South Africa will provide the national teams – including men’s and women’s senior as well as underage teams – with match kit, training wear, off field apparel and equipment.

Umbro now has deals with nine countries and 34 clubs across the African continent.

"Umbro is passionate about the support of African football at all levels and we trust this partnership will transcend beyond kit sponsorship into a meaningful relationship for the team, our brand, and the broader African football community," Umbro South Africa CEO David Ricketts said in announcing the Uganda deal.

The company sponsors more than 120 clubs worldwide.

Written by Gerard Farek

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