Lloyds-TSB is to sponsor the rugby union Five Nations Championship and 1999 Rugby World Cup in a £12m deal to boost its brand profile.
The three-year deal includes the first-ever title sponsorship of the 1999 and 2000 Five Nations Championships, as well as backing for England's, Wales' and Ireland's home internationals in the 1998 competition.
Lloyds-TSB will also become the official bank of the 1999 Rugby World Cup and will back European qualifying matches for the tournament to be held in the British Isles next year.
Lloyds-TSB chairman Brian Pitman says: "We see the sponsorship as a great opportunity to raise the profile further of our three retail brands – Lloyds Bank, TSB and Cheltenham & Gloucester – and involve existing and potential customers and staff."
Five Nations Committee chairman Allan Hosie says: "This is an exciting new sponsorship venture for all countries involved in rugby's old est tournament, the Five Nations Championship, and further underlines the ever- growing stature of the event."
Lloyds-TSB will kick off the sponsorship by backing the England versus New Zealand and Scotland versus Australia games this week.
Cheltenham & Gloucester, which is part of the Lloyds-TSB group, is to sponsor a new cup competition for English rugby union clubs. The Cheltenham & Gloucester Cup, which the society is backing in a £1m three-year deal, will be a knockout tournament for 20 teams initially, including Leicester, Northampton, Bristol and Gloucester.