All Blacks brand has never been stronger

Last updated 05:00 02/12/2012
Richie McCaw
50-MILLION DOLLAR MEN: The All Blacks brand brings in $50 million in sponsorship for the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Relevant offers

All Blacks

Tom Taylor signs with French Top 14 club Bayonne Serious injury concern for Chiefs' All Black lock Brodie Retallick after shoulder blow Dan Carter pivotal to All Black's World Cup chances, says former coach Graham Henry NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew forecasts 'modest profit' for 2014 France 'loaded' on drugs for infamous 1986 All Blacks 'Battle of Nantes' test Former All Black Piri Weepu to leave London Welsh after signing deal with French club Oyonnax New Zealand Rugby says mosquito-transmitted disease in Samoa won't threaten Apia test match Andy Ellis earned the yen in Japan but lost chance to return to the All Blacks fold Richie McCaw refutes links with offshore clubs, remains mute on retirement talk All Blacks midfielder Malakai Fekitoa sticks with NZ rugby for next three years

Call it the Black Brand of Excellence or whatever you like but major global sponsors are gravitating toward the New Zealand Rugby Union's door in the wake of its landmark deal with AIG.

Wearing the world champions tag and with an unbeaten record this year ahead of this morning's European tour finale against England, the All Blacks brand has never been in a stronger position.

In fact, the All Blacks' recently announced deal with AIG pumped it up to the $50 million mark in team sponsorship globally and from within New Zealand.

And though NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said the next major international sponsor wasn't imminent, he confirmed discussions had taken place with several major multi-nationals during the past month.

"There are now companies global with their footprint who are seeing rugby as an appropriate marketing and sponsorship activity and we are one of the strongest brands in the rugby world," Tew said. "It's only natural we'd be having discussions with some of those brands."

In fact, Tew and his new commercial director Mark Adam have been busy in Europe this past month nurturing relationships with global heavyweights from Louis Vuitton to Land Rover.

Such meetings are evidence of the doors opening around the world.

Anyone doubting the marketability of the All Blacks in Europe only needed buy the London Daily Telegraph's Friday edition, one which had an unprecedented full-page, black AIG wrap-around section promoting this morning's test at Twickenham.

"At this moment we are in very good shape, there's no doubt about it," Tew said. "The world champion tag is a help. We had a strong commercial portfolio before the World Cup, but the opportunities are now considerably higher."

Tew is categorical about two things. No other company logos will be joining AIG on the All Blacks jersey, and sponsors within New Zealand remain a priority.

"I don't think you will ever get to the point where you see all of our sponsorships being international or global," he said.

"There is always going to be the need to have a strong portfolio of local commercial partners to keep the game in touch with who we really are. In the end that's our most important clientele. But, we need to ensure there is enough scale to remain competitive. The best way for us to do that is to look at options outside New Zealand."

The Sunday Star Times understands the IRB has been pushing for its member unions to have closer ties with its global sponsors Heineken, Land Rover and French banking giants Societe Generale.

Ad Feedback

The NZRU cannot talk sponsorship with Heineken as it would clash with existing New Zealand brewery deals, Societe Generale competes with AIG, and Land Rover wouldn't be viable in New Zealand where Ford is a major player in rugby.

But an exclusively offshore deal may not be completely off the table. It is understood Land Rover, who have a separate relationship with star turn Dan Carter, have previously been keen to talk to the NZRU.

"We are happy to chat because you never know. Maybe a contract runs out in two years' time and something might come of it, you just never know," Tew said.

The same applied to meetings with Louis Vuitton representatives in Rome where Tew also lunched with Nicola Bulgari.

"We are talking inside and outside of New Zealand to about 15 or 20 companies right now. We are keeping our networks live and building them because even if you are with someone now you don't know what the future holds.

"Who would have picked a luxury watch maker [Bulgari] would want to sign a licensing arrangement with the All Blacks."

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the best-performed All Blacks forward on the northern tour?

Dane Coles

Nathan Harris

Keven Mealamu

Wyatt Crockett

Charlie Faumuina

Ben Franks

Owen Franks

Joe Moody

Brodie Retallick

Luke Romano

Jeremy Thrush

Patrick Tuipulotu

Sam Whitelock

Sam Cane

Jerome Kaino

Richie McCaw

Liam Messam

Kieran Read

Vitor Vito

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content