Wasps Rugby have signed a deal with telecoms company Vodafone to become the Coventry-based club’s title sponsor from the start of the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season.
Vodafone will replace Land Rover on the front of Wasps’ jerseys – the luxury car maker having been the club’s primary sponsor since the start of the 2014/15 season, which coincided with Wasps leaving Greater London for the Ricoh Arena. And the deal will also see the mobile phone company become the main sponsor of Wasps Netball.
The two-year deal increases Vodafone’s already substantial investment in rugby union – the company has been Ireland’s main sponsor since 2016, while its South African subsidiary Vodacom has been a title sponsor of Super Rugby since 1996, and has also been main sponsor of the Bulls for many years.
Despite Vodafone’s familiarity with rugby, then, it is worth noting that the company’s presence on the front of jerseys has not always been a welcome one. Namely, Vodafone’s insistence on using its red and white logo intact on the front of Ireland home jerseys has been heavily criticised, especially when they’ve sometimes opted for a monochrome one for change strips.
Wasps’ relationship with Land Rover might well have seen the brand’s logo appear multiple times on one jersey, but at least that logo was always monochrome black or white, and not green.
The presence of a bright red sponsor on the front of a black and yellow jersey will certainly be jarring, and Wasps fans will be hoping that the terms of the deal with Land Rover will be repeated.
We’ll find out when Wasps launch their 2019/20 kit this summer.