AIG and NZRU sponsorship Q&A

Getty Images     13 Oct 2012     Getty Images

AIG is a true global company which is committed to taking rugby to new countries and new fans through its operations in more than 90 countries, its global workforce of more than 60,000 staff and 88 million customers. New Zealand rugby will be the company’s cornerstone sponsorship.

This is an unprecedented opportunity to promote New Zealand rugby that only a global company can provide. In particular, AIG’s global presence will mean considerable support to promote rugby among second tier nations through tours by Maori All Blacks, All Blacks Sevens and other teams.

Our partnerships now include two global companies, AIG and adidas and together these put New Zealand rugby on a more secure path.

What will the AIG sponsorship be used for?
The AIG sponsorship provides significant additional financial security for New Zealand rugby.

AIG’s support will allow NZRU to keep turning out and retaining our best players and coaches, support national teams to compete internationally more often and ensure we continue to produce world champion teams. We also have new and ambitious goals to support such as our men’s and women’s Sevens teams and their bid for gold at the Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Over time AIG’s sponsorship will allow the NZRU to better support programmes and other initiatives for rugby from the community level to the professional level.

In particular, AIG is committed to supporting rugby at the community level and will provide significant funding each year for specific initiatives such as charity, education and player safety projects.

Why does New Zealand rugby need the AIG sponsorship?
The NZRU is operating like most organisations in one of the most challenging financial environments in many decades. It costs around $100 million a year to run rugby in New Zealand – to support community rugby, the competitions we play in, and compete with other countries to ensure we retain the best players and coaches.

However, we are currently forecasting deficits over the coming years, which means using cash reserves in the short term to meet this. This is simply not sustainable.

Our financial projections show we need to bring in considerable new revenue to sustain the growth of rugby, or cut significant activity, much of which allows us to produce the best players and teams in the world.

This situation has forced us in recent years to reduce funding for certain rugby development programmes, restrict some competitions and reduce the overseas travel programmes of some national teams.

Why is AIG a good fit for New Zealand rugby?
AIG is a deep rooted local company having operated in New Zealand for more than 40 years and with an excellent track record of success, like our national teams. In particular, it has the highest settlement rate for commercial insurance claims in Christchurch following the tragic earthquakes there.

In particular, New Zealand rugby’s proud legacy of excellence and success, our commitment to high performance, sportsmanship, mateship and the communities that support the game are the ingredients of a story that resonates with AIG unlike any other sporting team.

This is a company that has been through tough times, repaid its debt to American taxpayers and is on the comeback trail. They look at the All Blacks as a team of character that has bounced back from adversity, and a team that remains the most successful rugby side in the world, one that prides itself on winning, like all our national teams. AIG also wants to be the best in the world at what it does.

What has AIG paid the NZRU?
The NZRU was already benefitting from the most valuable rugby sponsorship in the rugby world through its partnership with Principal Partner, adidas. To the best of our knowledge, this is the second most valuable rugby sponsorship.

The value of the AIG sponsorship is confidential as is normal business practice for such contracts.

How will AIG promote rugby overseas?
AIG’s cornerstone sponsorship will help New Zealand teams to play in more countries, more often. We will be able to tap into AIG’s marketing skills and experience and work with the company in providing high visibility sponsorship activities in more countries, more often. The profile of our national teams and New Zealand rugby will be higher than ever before and this will build on the strong platform our partnership with adidas has already provided.

What is the view of NZRU Principal Partner adidas?
This has been done in full consultation with adidas. We have kept adidas fully informed all along the way. They have played a constructive role in ensuring we could make this new partnership work and the NZRU thanks them for their support. adidas remains the Principal Partner of New Zealand rugby whose support has underpinned rugby in this country since 1999 and will continue through until at least 2019.

Why place an additional commercial logo on the jerseys of six teams?
International rugby teams have often had major sponsorship logos on the front of jerseys, including New Zealand national teams. In the 1990s the All Blacks jersey had Steinlager, in addition to an apparel sponsor. adidas has been on the front of jerseys since 1999.

The decision to place an additional logo on the jersey reflects the importance of the relationship with AIG. It is a decision the NZRU carefully weighed, but in the end the NZRU decided in these challenging times it could no longer afford to ignore this opportunity. It was clearly the best option to provide New Zealand rugby with the additional financial resources needed to secure the future of rugby in this country.

Why is the new logo smaller on the All Blacks jersey?
AIG greatly respects the rich and proud heritage of the All Blacks jersey. This is why the logo is also just under one third the size of the maximum allowed under IRB regulations.

The logo is significantly smaller than those appearing on the jerseys of many other international teams and smaller than those on Investec Super Rugby and provincial team jerseys. The logo on the All Blacks shorts is also less than two thirds the maximum permitted.

What consultation did the NZRU undertake?
This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We consulted with senior players, team management and others. We also sought expert advice around what was required to attract the global sponsorship of the size that New Zealand rugby requires and carefully weighed up all the implications.

Why did the NZRU not choose a New Zealand company?
AIG is more than three times the size of New Zealand’s biggest company with a. global footprint extending to more than 90 countries, a worldwide work force of more than 60,000 staff and 88 million customers.

There is no New Zealand company that can offer the exposure internationally as AIG can so this sponsorship is an unprecedented opportunity to promote New Zealand rugby around the world.

But we were also attracted by the fact that AIG has an established New Zealand operation. AIG has have been in this country for over 40 years, employs over 100 kiwis and has a number of our existing partners as its clients. AIG offered the compelling mix of a massive global reach and an established New Zealand presence.