Rugby: All Blacks court overseas investor for big-money jersey sponsorship

NZ Rugby hopes to sell the rights to an overseas investor.
NZ Rugby hopes to sell the rights to an overseas investor. Photo credit: Getty

NZ Rugby (NZR) reportedly hopes to sell All Blacks jersey sponsorship for more than $300million. 

American insurance giant AIG currently holds the rights, which expire at the end of 2021, and NZME claims NZR is trying to sell its entire portfolio of jersey sponsorships - All Blacks, Black Ferns, Sevens, Māori and U20 - to a single investor. 

The package could be offered to a major US or Japanese advertising agency, which could then on-sell to companies wanting their names on the New Zealand teams' jerseys.

AIG has been the All Blacks' major sponsor since 2012, when its name began appearing on the team's jersey, but announced last January it would end its sponsorship in 2021.

The current deal is worth $120m over five years, but NZR reportedly wants more money and has priced a five-year deal to one investor at $300m, a figure that trumps the entire total income of all sponsorships from 2016-19.

NZR recently announced a $7.5m loss for 2019 and a decline of $120m in revenue is expected in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, while nearly 50 percent of its 180 full time jobs are set to be lost.

"Our view is that we need to be flexible about what the audience and potential buyers are looking for,'' NZR chief commercial officer Richard Thomas has told NZME.

The COVID-19 crisis has forced the postponement of All Blacks tests against Wales and Scotland scheduled for July. 

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