All Blacks all het up over shirt sponsorship
The New Zealand rugby team are rumoured to be about to announce a shirt sponsor for the first time. Some Kiwis aren’t taking the news very well.
We’re so accustomed to shirt, stadium, and even underwear sponsorship (howya Paddy!) these days that we don’t even give it a second thought any more. Like it or lump it, it is everywhere and the world has not fallen down just because a company sticks its name on a shirt. Hell, even Barcelona have given in at this stage.
But one sporting giant has remained above it all are the All Blacks. The adidas logo on their shirts might be bigger than the famous silver fern but the NZRU line is that the shirt is not sponsored. Until now.
It has been widely reported in New Zealand that the world champs are about to allow US insurance company AIG stick their white logo all over their famous black kit. That’s the same AIG that sponsored Manchester United from 2006-10.
Anyway, if there is one thing that New Zealanders really care about, it’s their beloved All Blacks, so there has been a bit of an outcry.
Jed Thian, a rugby commentator and blogger in New Zealand, was not best pleased.
“Even though I have a very wild and vivid imagination, I am a conservative on the subject of the purity of the All Black strip of the New Zealand rugby team. I feel that the entire uniform should be simply black, with a silver fern on the left breast, the words 'New Zealand All Blacks' don't need to be there because it's obvious that the rugby player wearing this strip is an All Black,” he said.
The NZRU have declined to comment on the speculation, apart from saying that they would not discuss details until a deal had been reached, which is an admittance that they are in the process of striking some sort of an agreement with somebody.
A quick look at the news sites over there reveals a lot of anger in the comments section with the reasons for the objection varying from the a desire to keeping the purity of the jersey to anger that an non-New Zealand company would be associated with the most powerful symbol of the country.
It does seem inevitable that the All Blacks will have a sponsor now, and they will make vast sums for selling that valuable space on the chests of Dan Carter et al.
With the regional clubs in big financial trouble, the central union needs more revenue and selling ad space seems the easiest way to do it, even if it upsets some fans.