SmartFrame Technologies, the UK-based digital image tech start-up, has been named the official photography and image-streaming distribution partner for European rugby union’s Six Nations national teams tournaments.

The deal will entail a new media model for Six Nations’ sponsors and commercial partners through SmartFrame's in-image advertising solution.

This involves interactive features such as full-screen viewing and SmartFrame’s Hyper Zoom technology, as well as improved relevance of ads within content related to the competitions.

Additionally, SmartFrame’s current advertising partners will be able to connect with the Six Nations brand and reach its audience through tailored advertising for specific images, websites, geolocations, and devices.

SmartFrame’s model will also ensure that Six Nations retains the rights to images taken in its competitions and profits from the revenues generated through advertising displayed within the images.

Under the new model, publishers will be able to embed official images on their websites for free and receive a share of in-image sponsorship revenue.

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Six Nations images will still be available via traditional photo agency subscriptions, but only publishers using official Six Nations Rugby images will benefit from SmartFrame’s image-streaming technology and a share of sponsorship revenues.

Sarah Beattie, chief marketing officer of Six Nations Rugby, said: “SmartFrame has established itself as a globally respected and widely trusted brand within the industry, with a growing portfolio of other major sports organizations.

“The digital and user-first approach stands to deliver a better fan experience and the commercial model provides a genuine opportunity to deliver returns for our unions and partners, which will ultimately go back into the game.”

Rob Sewell, chief executive of SmartFrame Technologies, added: “We’re delighted to add Six Nations Rugby to an already impressive roster of sporting partnerships for SmartFrame Technologies.

“We are redefining the digital image standard and distribution model to empower image owners, offering them complete control and transparency over the use of their images, while our ad-funded commercial model is channeling substantial revenue back into the hands of content creators. We’re very proud to partner with a sports brand as iconic and forward-thinking as Six Nations Rugby.”

Last month Six Nations entered into a new deal with short-form video platform TikTok, the previous naming rights partner of the Women’s Six Nations.

TikTok and Six Nations first struck a tie-up in January 2022, with the platform becoming the title partner of the women’s tournament and an official partner of the men’s event. That agreement was initially meant to last until 2025.

However, in December, renowned beer brand Guinness expanded its deal with the tournament to include women’s edition naming rights, forcing TikTok to end its association prematurely.

Now, TikTok has unveiled a new tie-up with the Six Nations, with the platform designated an official fan of both the men’s and women’s editions.

This deal extension came the same week as the Six Nations organizers unveiled a commercial tie-up with the IHG hotels and resorts chain.