Rugby union’s British and Irish Lions have today unveiled a new sponsorship deal with the male personal care brand Dove Men+Care for their upcoming tour of South Africa.
The tie-up will see Dove Men+Care become the product of choice to the team for the series.
The deal was brokered by CSM Sport & Entertainment, the UK-based international agency, which is the exclusive sponsorship agency of the tour.
Dove will create a range of Lions branded products and gift sets, alongside in-store activations and television advertising, while the brands’ products will be integrated in the team’s dressing rooms during the series.
As part of the activations, Dove, in partnership with Boots, the UK health and beauty retailer, is giving away exclusive prizes such as Dove Men+Care sponsorship to local rugby clubs, official Lions branded jerseys and Lions and Dove co-branded rugby balls.
In addition, Dove will work alongside brand ambassadors and the Lions team on various activations.
The Lions are due to play a pre-tour test against Japan in Edinburgh on 26 June before heading to South Africa for eight matches, including three tests against the national team, the Springboks, in July and August.
The deal builds on Dove's existing partnerships with the English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Italian rugby unions, and the annual Six Nations.
Tom Halsey, commercial director of the British and Irish Lions, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Dove Men+Care to our family of commercial partners. Dove Men+Care has a track record of activating eye-catching sports campaigns and we look forward to working with them as the Tour approaches.”
Chris Barron, vice president of beauty and personal care at Unilever UK & Ireland, the brand's parent company, added: “We are extremely excited to enhance our commitment to rugby and partner with the Lions, rugby’s most prestigious touring side. The British and Irish Lions is a unique team built on the foundations of respect and caring for one another on and off the field. We are extremely excited to see the very best of British and Irish Rugby coming together for what we hope will be another historic Lions Series.”
The Lions now have a whole host of sponsors including Vodafone, Canterbury, DHL, T.M. Lewin, Land Rover and London Pride.
Vodafone is the lead partner to the team and will have its branding featured on the front of the Lions’ red shirt, while providing a variety of communications equipment to support the representative team, coached by Warren Gatland.
Canterbury, which has a relationship with the Lions dating back to 1959, is the team’s kit supplier, having replaced Adidas for the 2017 tour of New Zealand.
DHL, which first sponsored the Lions in 2005 and was a partner for the team’s last two tours in Australia and New Zealand, is the official logistics partner for the trip to South Africa, and its branding will feature on the back of the shirts of both the Lions and South Africa’s Springboks.
South African Breweries' Castle Lager is the title sponsor of the tour.
There is a new commercial model in place for the 2021 tour, with rights coming under a single umbrella through a joint venture between the Lions and South Africa's SA Rugby. These elements include broadcasting, sponsorship, hospitality, licensing and ticketing.