Saracens have confirmed that Allianz have broken off their sponsorship deal with the club a year early.
It was reported earlier this week that the German insurer was set to leave their agreement a season early and it marks a significant blow to the club’s finances.
Allianz have been the Londoners’ main sponsor since 2012 but they have now decided to opt-out a year before their current £2million a year deal was due to elapse in 2021.
A statement reads: “Saracens Rugby Club can confirm that it has agreed to end its lead partnership with Allianz at the end of the 2019/20 season.
“The partnership was successful since its inception back in 2012, encompassing naming rights for Allianz Park stadium and the club’s playing shirts, as well as Principal Partner of the Saracens Sports Foundation.
“Saracens would like to thank Allianz for its support over the last eight years and the Club is pleased that it has re-affirmed its commitment to the Foundation until the end of the 2020/21 season. This ensures continuity in what is such a key aspect of the Club’s community programme in a partnership which uses the power of sports to inspire and improve lives throughout the north London community.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 13, 2020
“Saracens look forward to the remainder of the 2019/20 season working with the Allianz team around the club’s existing games at Allianz Park as well as its showpiece fixture The Showdown at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday 28th March, where Saracens will play in Allianz’s special edition blue shirt.
“Saracens look forward to working with our stable of committed Principal Partners including Nike, Hy-Pro and Simba and we would like to thank them for their ongoing support. We are also excited about developing new commercial partnerships in the coming months.”
How Saracens fare in trying to secure a replacement will be watched with interest. It was in November, shortly after the initial punishments were handed down by Premiership Rugby, that a sponsorship expert warned that they troubled club faced two years of pain as a toxic brand.
Sponsorship industry expert Nigel Currie, a former joint chairman of the European Sponsorship Association, told RugbyPass: “Saracens have become a toxic brand and only time can get them back to where they want to be.
“It’s similar to Rangers in Scottish football who dropped down after breaking various rules. You just have to rebuild and for clubs wanting instant success, it is pretty bad news. There is a danger that Saracens could get relegated from the Premiership and the damage over the next two years will be pretty bad.
“Holding onto their players and their sponsors during that period is the key thing, but having someone like Nigel Wray there is important because you don’t make money out of Premiership rugby at the moment. It’s tough and now a lot a tougher for Saracens and I don’t know if their club sponsor Allianz have some kind of embarrassment clause in their contract.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now