- May 8, 2002
- Reaction score
Saracens' ambitions to return to their former glory have been given a significant boost, as the club announced that they had agreed a four-year sponsorship deal with financial services group StoneX. The partnership, which will see the renaming of the north Londoners' ground to the StoneX Stadium, is thought to surpass the reported £2 million-a-year deal in place with previous sponsors Allianz, which would make it one of the most lucrative in English rugby history. The German insurance giant ended its backing of Saracens in February 2020 in the wake of the club's salary-cap scandal. The announcement will come as a major financial fillip to the club, who were relegated last season for the first time in the professional era after their most turbulent 12 months. Dropping down to the Championship is fraught with financial uncertainty even under usual circumstances but, with the coronavirus pandemic, rugby's finances have never looked so fragile. Securing a deal of this magnitude will ensure the club has the best possible chance of bouncing straight back to the Premiership, as well as setting the foundations for long-term financial sustainability. Equally impressive is that Saracens have been able to find a backer that was able to forgive and forget the controversy of last season, which severely harmed their reputation and even saw chairman Nigel Wray end his 24-year association with the club. Regarding the partnership, Saracens CEO Lucy Wray – daughter of Nigel – said: “We are really excited to enter this new, long-term partnership with StoneX, one of the world’s leading financial groups. We share a commitment to excellence and innovation and we are looking forward to the start of a memorable journey with them. “This is a major moment for the Saracens family. The partnership heralds a fresh start for the club after a hugely challenging year and having met some of the people at StoneX and City Index, I can safely say that they share our ambition and values.” Philip Smith, CEO of StoneX Financial Ltd, talked up his “excitement” in seeing how the partnership develops and said: “I’m delighted to announce a long-standing partnership with Saracens as both the club and StoneX have a relentless drive to achieve excellence. “Hard work, patience and dedication to our clients is at the core of our value proposition as a global financial services organization. These values are shared by Saracens Rugby Club, and are exemplified by their high performance culture and commitment to player welfare as well as their fan base.” Saracens are set to return to the field for the first time since October 4 on Saturday, as they face Ealing Trailfinders and Doncaster in a pre-season competition to prepare for the new Championship season. Telegraph Sport reported last week that Billy Vunipola is likely to feature in the Trailfinders Challenge Cup next weekend as the No 8 looks to build towards the Six Nations. The rest of Saracens' English contingent, however, are likely to be filtered back to action gradually, with the Championship season scheduled to recommence on the weekend of March 6, midway through the 2021 Six Nations.