The IRFU is delighted to announce that O2 Ireland is the new official sponsor of the Irish national rugby team from May 31, 2006.
The sponsorship commences prior to the team's departure to New Zealand and Australia for the 2006 summer tour. The agreement will be for the next six years to the conclusion of the 2011/2012 season. The value of the sponsorship represents a substantial investment reflecting the current strength of the Irish team and the Irish rugby brand.
IRFU President Andy Crawford said: "We would like to formally welcome O2 Ireland as our new official national team sponsor. O2 is a successful and respected brand that has supported Irish rugby at various levels including international, provincial and club since 2002 when it became Official Mobile Communications Sponsor for the IRFU.
"We are proud to further consolidate our partnership with this new agreement and look forward to enjoying many successful years ahead with O2 and the Irish team."
Within the new agreement, O2 Ireland will have the rights to place its logo on all Ireland Senior international and Ireland 'A' team playing and training kit and team related IRFU merchandise. The partnership will also give O2 Ireland key sites on advertising hoardings surrounding the pitch at home matches.
...O2 Ireland's Danuta Gray...
Commenting on the new Ireland rugby team sponsorship, Danuta Gray, CEO at O2 Ireland, said: "O2 Ireland has been committed to Irish rugby for a number of years now with our sponsorship of Ireland Schools, Shannon Senior Rugby and our endorsement of Brian O'Driscoll and Eddie O'Sullivan.
"We are delighted to be sponsoring the team at a time when Irish rugby is so strong. Ireland's tremendous performance in the Triple Crown and its impressive performances in the Six Nations is testament to the skill of today's players and the successful structures put in place by the IRFU.
"The Ireland team shares similar values and aspirations in sport as we do in business, continually reviewing and challenging convention to find fresh ways of working. The current level of professionalism in Irish rugby points towards a positive and exciting outlook for the years ahead."
O2 Ireland plans a number of exciting initiatives to support its sponsorship of the Irish team. O2 customers will have exclusive access to a selection of interactive services on i-mode on their mobile phones (Internet access on your mobile at the touch of a button) such as player diaries, as well as text alerts with the latest news and scores. O2 customers will also be offered a preferential rate for membership of the Ireland Rugby Supporters Club. In addition, as part of the new sponsorship, O2 Ireland will introduce a specially commissioned Ireland supporters handset.