Panasonic is today set to announce a multi million dollar sponsorship deal that could well be the savior for the cash strapped Australian Rugby Union who last year reported a $4.7 million loss.
Panasonic who are currently #2 in the flat panel TV market in Australia is also set to roll out a major advertising campaign wrapped around the Olympics with the Seven Network.
The Company who are currently repositioning themselves to a younger audience have been a big sponsor of rugby union in the past.
Back in 2005 when the Company announced a three year multimillion dollar deal they said “The partnership between the ARU and Panasonic is a significant deal. Panasonic has become the ARU’s exclusive sponsor in the Audio Visual Products category. The new partnership will be reflected in Panasonic’s marketing activities, with the company to shortly launch an intensive advertising and promotional program aligned with the rugby season”.
They added “The key theme of Panasonic technology enriching the at-home experience for the rugby fan is a logical fit and provides a powerful marketing message for the company’s AV products”.
The Company claims that apart from making a major contribution to the ongoing growth of Rugby, Panasonic’s support will also ensure that the Qantas Wallabies have the most up-to-date equipment with which to analyse Test match and training footage.
Last year the ARU Board undertook a major review of the 2007 tournament which revealed a $4.7 million loss for the ARU, more than $2 million over the budgeted investment.
Even allowing for cost cutting measures, forecasts for next year also suggested further losses of $3.3 million in 2008.
The ARU Board resolved that to continue with the ARC given the financial outlook – a cumulative loss of $8 million over two years – would be fiscally irresponsible.
After confirmation of today’s sponsorship deal Panaonic said that they had been involved with Australian Rugby at the community, Super 14 and Wallabies level for the past three years and will continue the partnership through to the end of 2011 – the year of the next Rugby World Cup in
“Panasonic has been the Australian Rugby Union’s exclusive sponsor in the audio-visual electronics category since 2005, and we’re proud to be able to extend this for another four years,” said Steve Rust, Managing Director Panasonic
“2008 is certainly an exceptional year for the ARU. The appointment of a new coach provides a fresh opportunity for reinvigoration and innovation.
“Over the next four years we look forward to supporting the ARU’s new direction with the latest technology that gives them the competitive advantage, allowing them to analyse individual, team and opposition performance.”
ARU Managing Director and CEO John O’Neill said he was delighted a valuable partner had been secured long-term.
“Panasonic is a leader in its field, just as we want our flagship team to be under the direction of our new Qantas Wallabies head coach
“The support we have received from Panasonic in recent seasons represents the company’s welcome commitment to Australian Rugby which stretches from the grassroots to the elite professional levels.
“Their sponsorship has encompassed the community game, through support for our EdRugby program, right through to Super 14 and the Wallabies.
“We are excited to have Panasonic committing to what will be an enduring and successful relationship as the game moves into a bold new era.”