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O2 to spend £10m backing World Cup victors England

LONDON - Mobile phone network mm0O is set to renew its sponsorship of the England World Cup-winning rugby team in a deal that could be worth as much as £10m.

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MmO2's current sponsorship deal with England runs out next summer and the firm, which owns the O2 brand, is keen to sign again to capitalise on the huge amounts of publicity being generated after England triumphed over Australia in Sydney last month.

MmO2 has sponsored England since 1995 when it first signed a £3.5m deal. The company was still part of BT then and was known as BT Cellnet. The current £5m four-year deal was signed in 2000.

The Rugby Football Union and individual players, including captain Martin Johnson and fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, are currently all involved in renegotiating sponsorship and image rights.

On Friday, it was revealed that Wilkinson, who won the game against the Aussies with just a minute to go, signed a £2m deal with his main sponsor Adidas.

O2 is understood to be hugely pleased with its sponsorship, which has been very successful in driving awareness of its brand in the mobile market.

Last night, Wilkinson was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

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