• Commercial partnership between NTL and The Lions unveiled
  • 8 x 1hour ‘behind the scenes’ programmes to be made by Premium TV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTL, with first showing to NTL customers
  • NTL becomes official sponsor of The Lions’ tour of Australia, 2001
  • NTL Incorporated (NYSE: NLI; Easdaq: NTLI), one of Europe’s largest broadband TV, telephone and Internet communications companies, announced today that it has signed a commercial partnership to become the official sponsor of the Lions’ rugby tour of Australia, 2001, and to produce eight 1-hour TV programmes of ‘behind the scenes’ action from the tour.

    NTL’s sports strategy is to add value to its bundle of high-quality TV, telephone and Internet services, increase access to the sports its customers are passionate about and boost product and brand awareness. This £1 million deal is the latest addition to a host of sports initiatives.

    The Lions join Aston Villa FC, Celtic FC, Rangers FC, Newcastle FC, Swansea RUFC, Newport RUFC and National Basketball Association which have announced deals with NTL.

    Today’s eagerly-contested agreement means that the NTL brand will be seen by the millions of sports fans across the company’s traditional countries of business – England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – as well as by fans around the world who’ll tune in to watch the legendary Lions play. NTL’s brand will be on the team shirts, training kit, replica merchandise and official leisurewear.

    However, the commercial partnership with The Lions is much more than a brand awareness initiative.

    NTL is committed to providing rugby fans with far greater access and involvement with the players than ever before, plus in-depth Interactive content about the tour, via its range of broadband TV, telephone, Internet and Interactive services.

    NTL’s customers will be able to watch the games live via Sky Sports (digital and analogue) and also be the first to enjoy 8 x 1-hour programmes of unique ‘behind the scenes’ access to the players (to be available on video later next year). NTL will have unique access to areas such as the dressing room, treatment room, team meetings and even the team bus. The series will be produced by Premium TV, a wholly owned subsidiary of NTL.

    Other initiatives being considered include:

  • NTL’s broadband interactive TV services will feature the very latest statistics and player profiles as well as a host of other services such as Interactive betting: fans will be able to have a bet on a game’s result without leaving their armchair
  • Daily tour diaries written by players and accessible via NTL web sites
  • Fans will be able to send messages of support to the team via e-mail accessible through NTL web sites
  • A variety of promotions will be designed to give fans the opportunity to get closer access to the players such as watching the squad train, taking part in the farewell dinner, winning match tickets and even joining The Lions as the team’s mascot. There will also be a major official Fantasy Lions’ competition
  • There will even be special promotions on residential call rates to Australia on days after the Lions win matches!
  • Mike Hounsell, Group Marketing Director of NTL said:

    ‘We are very proud to support The Lions’ tour – which will be next summer’s hottest sporting event. Just as the team represents England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, NTL provides a range of TV, telephone and Internet services to homes and businesses across each nation. It is an outstanding agreement and we expect to receive coverage of our brand on TV alone worth over a million pounds.

    ‘The tour will be the highlight of the sporting calendar for millions of sports fans, NTL will add to their enjoyment by enhancing the ways that they can watch the Lions, talk about the Lions and interact with the Lions.’

    The tour itinerary will see the Lions play a total of ten matches on the tour, in June and July of next year, seven of them against district and Super-12 sides and Australia A, as well as three tests (in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney) against Australia.

    For further information, please contact:

    Alison Kirkwood
    Tel: 01256 752 662
    Malcolm Padley
    Tel: 01256 753408 or 07788 978199

    For the Lions, please contact:
    Jolyon Armstrong, Vice President Octagon Marketing,
    T: 0207 862 0000
    F: 0207 862 0001