AUCKLAND: American International Group (AIG) and the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) recently announced a five-and-a-half year agreement for AIG to sponsor six NZRU rugby teams: the All Blacks, Maori All Blacks, All Blacks Sevens, New Zealand Black Ferns (women's fifteens), New Zealand Women's Sevens, and New Zealand Under 20.
Financial terms of the sponsorship agreement are not being disclosed.
"Prominently associating the AIG brand with the legendary All Blacks and the highly competitive and successful New Zealand Rugby Union teams, as well as passionate rugby fans around the world, represents a tremendous opportunity for AIG, the NZRU, and rugby," said Bob Benmosche, AIG president and CEO.
"The All Blacks' winning tradition and reputation for tenacity, integrity, and performance reflect attributes in AIG's own culture. We are extremely honoured to be the All Blacks' new front-of-jersey sponsor and excited by the benefits that come with the teaming of two world-class franchises. Together, AIG and the NZRU are a powerful global partnership, symbolising strength and potential."
"The AIG sponsorship is a game changer for rugby in New Zealand and will take New Zealand rugby to new heights around the world," said Steve Tew, NZRU chief executive.
"We need to ensure the game flourishes at the community level and upwards so that New Zealand can keep producing world champion teams and the best players in the world. A new logo on the All Blacks jersey is not a step we have taken lightly - we respect the rich and proud heritage of this extraordinary team, and carefully weighed the change. In the end, the AIG sponsorship is an unprecedented opportunity, and the best option to sustain the future of New Zealand rugby and grow the global game."Logo to feature prominently
The refreshed AIG logo will be prominently displayed in contrasting white on the historically black front of the jerseys and back of shorts for the four men's teams, and front of the jerseys for the two women's teams. The new jersey will be worn by the All Blacks Sevens for the first tournament of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series tournament on the Gold Coast in Australia, October 13, in a game against the United States Eagle 7s. On the All Blacks jersey, AIG's logo is just under one third the size of the maximum allowed under International Rugby Board guidelines, in consideration of the historical significance of that jersey.
This sponsorship solidifies AIG's commitment to the sport of rugby. On 2 October 2012, AIG announced that it had entered into an agreement to become the official front-of-jersey sponsor for USA Rugby's men's and women's Junior and Collegiate All-American teams. AIG will also work with USA Rugby to grow its Rookie Rugby "Rugby in a Box" youth developmental program, an assertion of the company's commitment to grow the sport at every level around the world.
Benmosche concluded: "Rugby is popular around the globe and growing rapidly in the United States, and the top rugby nations align with regions where AIG is strongly represented and is targeting growth."