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Monday 21 August 2017

McNaughton won't sell new competition short

European Professional Club Rugby Board Director Paul McNaughton has defended the decision to delay the choice of the Rugby Champions Cup headline sponsors.

"If we wanted to we could have had all four or five in by now, by the launch of the tournament, but at a much reduced value," he said.

"Like everything, you have to believe in the value that your tournament is going to give and play the long game there and that is what is happening now.

"Will we have all the sponsors in that we are targeting by the start of the tournament? Of course not. Will we have them by the start of next year's tournament? Yes.

"These are four-year deals so it is important to get the right price for your product."

McNaughton is "not embarrassed" at the current impasse which has arisen out of a squeeze on time and the jockeying for financial position among prospective sponsors.

"Some of the deals could have been done quicker if you were prepared to take a lesser price but the French TV tenders came in way below our expectations and we didn't pick it up.

"We put it out there again. That's why they were a delay in getting the TV in France across the line.

"There's a lot that had to be done commercially. But, the basic building blocks, especially the TV which represents about 75% of the income, is in place.

"It is the widest coverage that we have had in 20 years of rugby and it has worked out at a very significant 60% increase in television revenues which are locked in for four years.

"It would be better to have had it all done in June and July but we would have lost out in relation to the bottom line. The money."

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