THE home of Scottish rugby has been renamed the BT Murrayfield Stadium following a multi-million-pound sponsorship deal with the communications giant.
The renaming of the stadium in Edinburgh is the result of a four-year agreement – understood to be worth around £20 million – between the Scottish Rugby Union and BT.
BT also becomes sponsor of the Scotland 7s side from the outset of the 2014-15 HSBC Sevens World Series, and of Scotland’s domestic league and cup competitions from next season.
Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson said it was a “momentous day” for the sport. He said: “We are very proud to bring BT back into our family of sponsors on a size and scale that is unprecedented both for Scottish rugby and, we believe, Scottish sport.
“While the headlines may be dominated by the naming rights of the stadium, today’s announcement underlines BT’s alignment to our own values and goals, particularly that rugby clubs are the heart and soul of their communities that offer a welcome to all, young and old, boys and girls, men and women.
“This new funding underlines our desire to deliver more opportunities for young people to take up our game and broaden the reach of rugby across Scotland.
“We will invest the monies that we receive from BT alongside the revenues that come from our other partners to continue our plan to grow the game of rugby throughout Scotland and deliver against our strategic plan and our recent policy paper initiatives, in particular the establishment of a robust academy structure and to enhance the standard of club rugby.”
Dominic McKay, Scottish Rugby director of commercial operations, communications and public affairs, said: “We are delighted to have secured such a renowned and respected global partner. BT recognises the importance and the rich heritage associated with Murrayfield and Scottish Rugby.
“In branding our home the BT Murrayfield Stadium, it reiterates our joint view that the name of the home of Scottish rugby, that has been synonymous with the game in our country since 1925, had to be retained.”
He added: “To secure a deal of this nature for the first time in our history means a huge amount for Scottish Rugby, as it will deliver very positively for us for years to come, to enable us to continue to invest in our game throughout Scotland.”
John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing this partnership today, furthering the relationship between BT Sport and Scottish Rugby’s pro clubs, to support and grow the game in Scotland.”
Donald Macleod, president of the Scottish Rugby Union, also welcomed the announcement.
He said: “From Stornoway in the north to Selkirk in the south, this welcome investment comes as a very positive development for the entire game.”
BT Sport has been sponsor of Scotland’s two professional rugby teams, Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors, since the start of this season.
Royal Bank of Scotland remains as national team sponsor.
Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “The growth and scale of this partnership demonstrates our commitment to Scottish Rugby.”
Dubai-based airline Emirates paid Arsenal £100m to have its name on the London football club’s stadium for 15 years.
It also recently paid £5m for the naming rights for the Sir Chris Hoy arena – which houses the cycling velodrome built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – for the next ten years.