The Warriors are keen to explore Asia and believe their new sponsorship with a Chinese company will allow them the opportunity to break into that lucrative market.
The Warriors today unveiled a three-year deal with Fernbaby, a company hoping to provide a New Zealand alternative to the infant formula available here but also export into Asia, particularly China.
Fernbaby will be on the Junior Warriors uniforms next year and move on to the NRL team's playing apparel in 2014 and 2015.
Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah believes Asia is a viable market for rugby league and senses opportunities with pre-season or full NRL matches being taken there.
"I think it's totally realistic," Scurrah said of playing into Asia.
"Having such a well-credentialed company with a lot of contacts through Asia, opens up a lot of contacts and opportunities.
"When we talked to the Fernbaby guys about the sponsorship, because of their involvement with sport, particularly badminton through Asia, they talked about the opportunities in places like Hong Kong. That's obviously got the rugby and sevens at the moment."
Scurrah revealed that the warriors had previously been asked about playing in Shanghai but it didn't suit at the time. They had also been courted by Dubai.
"I don't think it's that difficult at all. The travel barriers are no problem.
If the players knew one of the preseason games was going to be in Hong Kong or mainland China, they'd be pretty excited about it."
Scurrah said it wouldn't happen next year but with the NRL's commitment to expanding interest in its competition, he was sure this was a way forward.
"Every year there are more and more countries and cities talking about wanting to host the NRL, whether it's preseason games or in-season games. I just think it's part of our future plans."
Scurrah said the sponsorship would also motivate the club to embrace Auckland's large Chinese community.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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