Allianz exit as ‘Sarries’ cut sorry figure

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UK Saracens naming rights Image: Saracens

With German financial services company Allianz stepping aside as the venue sponsor of English Premiership rugby union club Saracens (UK) – the club has announced that its home ground will revert to its former name of Copthall Stadium.

Saracens Football Club is an English professional rugby union football club based in London, England. Established in 1876, they play in the Championship, the second tier of rugby in England.

The home of Saracens since 2013 has been Allianz Park, located in the North London suburb of Hendon. Traditionally an athletics stadium (known as Barnet Copthall), the ground has been completely redeveloped and controversially features an artificial pitch that has been specially developed for rugby.

Now, the rugby club is going back to its old name Copthall Stadium. The arena has been known as Allianz Park for over seven years but in February Allianz chose to end the deal early.

The deal was terminated as Saracens was hit with a 105-point deduction for breaching salary cap regulations, condemning the club to relegation to the second-tier Championship.

Allianz was also in the role of main sponsor of Saracens but its deal concluded recently as the 2019-20 seasons drew to a close. The pact entered was reportedly worth £2m (€2.2m/$2.6m) a year and had been due to expire in 2021.

The ‘Sarries’ have now confirmed that Allianz Park will go back to its old Copthall Stadium name “for an interim period”, suggesting a new naming-rights sponsor will be sought in time for the next season.

A statement sent out by Saracens stated, “The club would like to thank Allianz for their support over a significant period and wish them all the best with their sponsorship of the Women’s Premier 15s and beyond.”

The ‘Wolf Pack’ recently claimed a first for UK sport by agreeing to team up with business services group Rentokil Initial, which became the club’s official hygiene partner.

Rentokil Initial is a British business services group. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

Since the agreement was reached, Rentokil Initial has provided a combination of bespoke disinfection services at Allianz Park and installed hand sanitizer dispensers around the ground. The service also includes the use of UV lamps, electrostatic disinfection and mist blowing space treatment, as well as conventional ultra-low volume disinfection fogging.

Allianz sponsors a number of facilities around the world, the notable ones being Juventus’ Allianz Stadium (Italy) and Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena (Germany). The company also holds naming rights to Minnesota United’s Allianz Field (US), Nice’s Allianz Riviera (France), Allianz Parque in São Paulo (Brazil) and Allianz Stadion in Vienna (Austria).

In February this year, Allianz struck a long-term extension to its deal with the Italian professional association football club Juventus, with the new agreement running from June 30th, 2020 to July 1st, 2023. The deal, which also grants Allianz brand exposure on Juventus’ training kit, will be worth €103.1m.

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