Exclusive Andy Marinos Comments: Harvey Norman Becomes Naming Rights Partner Of Super Rugby AU
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ugby Australia (RA) announced Harvey Norman has signed on as the naming rights partner for the 2021 Super Rugby AU season, as well as the inaugural Trans-Tasman Super Rugby tournament in May.
Speaking exclusively to Ministry of Sport, Rugby Australia CEO, Andy Marinos, said the partnership, along with the recent broadcast partnership with Nine and Stan Sport, is a massive boost for RA, but they are not out of the woods financially just yet.
“It gives us a massive shot in the arm, it’s very important, we haven’t run away from the fact our finances are a little bit tight,” Marinos told Ministry of Sport.
“All of this additional investment and commercial uplift we can get is really important.
“But more importantly, it’s about working hand in foot with them in terms of exposure and giving them the return on investment they need and at the same time, giving us a point of difference in the marketplace.
“I wouldn’t say we are out of the woods, but we are working hard to make sure we can turn all the challenges from 2020 around.
“There’s still a hell of a lot of work ahead, but there’s a concerted effort ahead not only from RA, but from all the states and all of the interested stakeholders.
There’s a bit of work to be done but we’ll keep grinding at it,” he said.
When asked how commercial partnership activations will look for Super Rugby AU in 2021, Marinos said the broadcast deal with Nine and Stan Sport has already shown how different it will be from previous years.
“I think it’s going to look vastly different, and we’ve already seen that with our new broadcast partner,” Marinos said.
“There’s a massive stable of assets you can leverage through, and they’ve been very enthusiastic about promoting and cross-promoting the game across all their different platforms.
“The fact rugby is now going to be on free-to-air, it broadens that reach and takes it into homes it probably hasn’t been in for a very long time.
“Time will tell as we go through the season what the commercial uplift will be and what it will look like, but we are certainly very confident about that,” he said.
Discussing Rugby Australia’s focus in 2021 and how the on-field product will influence the success of RA off-field, Marinos said: “We’re moving in the right direction, a lot of the success we will see off the field depends on what happens on the field, so if the product on the field is compelling, in its unpredictability and outcome, and it’s an entertaining product, that will certainly help drive all the commercial triggers off the field.”
“Building on relationships, being able to help leverage the associations we’ve got commercially and working hand in glove with our broadcast partner are critical.
“All areas of the business are very interlinked, and to me, the big thing is we have to build on relationships, and we have to try and deliver value as much as possible, whether it’s on the field or off it,” he told Ministry of Sport.
Speaking on the new partnership with Rugby Australia, Harvey Norman CEO, Katie Page, said: “Harvey Norman is thrilled to partner with Super Rugby AU as naming rights for season 2021.”
“With the strength of both brands working together, the opportunities and impact will be huge.
“Now is such an exciting time for Super Rugby AU after the challenges of the pandemic in 2020.
“Super Rugby can charge back this year with rugby fans watching live wherever possible and a whole new broader audience and fan base brought together by the Nine Entertainment Group’s Nine Gem and Stan Sport,” Page said.
The 2021 Super Rugby AU season will now be named the Harvey Norman Super Rugby AU competition, and begins Friday, February 19 on 9Gem and Stan Sport.