Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) has announced an exciting new partnership with Domino's Pizza for the four Welsh Regions' festive derby series this season.
Billed as the most eagerly awaited PRO12 league games of the season, the Christmas Welsh derbies are set to pull in the crowds and wow the Welsh rugby public. This season’s Domino’s Derby Series promises to be a Christmas cracker with top billing fixtures at Rodney Parade, Cardiff Arms Park, Parc Y Scarlets and the Liberty Stadium for supporters to enjoy.
Domino’s Pizza have joined up with the four Welsh regions in a new sponsorship deal this season which celebrates the best in Welsh regional rugby action at a time when supporters are getting right behind their regions.
The new Domino’s Pizza sponsorship covers the full series of four thrilling Welsh derby games:
• Boxing Day Scarlets V Ospreys at Parc y Scarlets kick off 2.05pm
• Boxing Day Newport Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues, Rodney Parade kick off 5pm
• 1st Jan Cardiff Blues v Newport Gwent Dragons Cardiff Arms Park kick off 2.05pm
• 3rd Jan Ospreys v Scarlets at Liberty kick off 7.15pm
RRW which represents the four Welsh Regions, the Ospreys, Cardiff Blues, Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons is expecting bumper crowds over the festive season. Last year the traditional four festive fixtures attracted a regional crowd of close to 50,000 supporters with the regions expecting to smash that record this year as the supporters turn out in numbers.
The Scarlets v Ospreys Boxing Day fixture has already sold more than 11,500 tickets and the clamour for tickets is such that it’s very likely to be a sell out on the day. Big crowds are expected at all four derbies including the Newport Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues at Rodney Parade that’s already sold more than 6,000 tickets so far and is also expected to sell-out.
Stuart Gallacher, Chief Executive of Regional Rugby Wales said: “The Welsh derbies over Christmas and New Year continue to be the biggest selling games of our PRO12 calendar and it just shows the support that’s out there for our big games - where there’s pride at stake in the very best regional contests. Last season the average attendance for a Welsh derby was more than 11,000 supporters.
“We are delighted to welcome Domino’s Pizza as a new sponsor to the Regions for this series and we hope that it will be the start of a longer term partnership that will in turn encourage and promote wider commercial support of the regional game in Wales.
“The regions, their benefactors, stakeholders, sponsors, supporters and communities all continue to take great pride in their contribution to Welsh rugby at all levels of the game and remain committed to working together to find a sustainable future for regional rugby – this new partnership is another example of the close working relationship we have as four Welsh regions.”
The new sponsorship agreement will see Domino’s Pizza featured across promotional and advertising activities including branding on big screens, pitch-side branding, match day programmes, supporters villages branding and bespoke social media campaigns.
This week, four of Wales’ hottest regional stars celebrated the new partnership as Ashley Beck, Rhys Priestland, Toby Faletau and Alex Cuthbert who have made more than 300 regional rugby appearances between them swapped rugby balls for dough balls at a promotional Domino’s Pizza photoshoot.
Wales and Scarlets international outside half Rhys Priestland said: “The Welsh derbies over Christmas and New Year bring out the very best in players and supporters and all our partners in regional rugby in Wales.
“As Scarlets there is nothing bigger than the Ospreys Boxing Day fixture, as players from the region we’ve grown up with these great on-pitch rivalries and tradition found in the Welsh derbies particularly at this time of year and it will be another big occasion for us at Parc Y Scarlets.
Wales and Cardiff Blues international Alex Cuthbert said: “For our supporters it’s a chance to see many of the Wales internationals from the regions going head-to-head in contest. It’s something which really gets the numbers in and gets the crowds going. As players these are the regional fixtures which we really look forward to.”
Ospreys skipper, Alun Wyn Jones, said: "Christmas is all about local derbies, big matches and days out with family and friends at the rugby. This year is extra special with the first Ospreys and Scarlets double header, something that all our fans are getting pretty excited about. It's going to be a great couple of weeks for regional rugby fans."
Domino’s spokesperson Simon Wallis added: “We’re excited to be working with the Regions and support one of Wales’ favourite national pastimes. Passion is at the heart of everything we do so it’s fantastic that we have the opportunity to create the first-ever Domino’s Derby Series to support the passion of the regional players and supporters alike for the great game of rugby.”
The Four Welsh Regions make significant contributions to their communities inspiring young people through sport as well as a collective input into the Welsh economy of more than £50m per annum and employing around 1000 people in full, part-time and casual roles.
The average Welsh derby attendance in 2012/13 was 11,666 – an increase from 2011/12 which averaged at 10,200.