ANZ signs up as major sponsor of RWC 2011

ANZ will be the fourth worldwide partner for the Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011), placing it alongside fellow top tier sponsors Emirates, MasterCard and Heineken and making it the official bank of the Rugby World Cup.

ANZ was approached last year by Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) to become a worldwide partner of the event, which is expected to attract over 70,000 international visitors to New Zealand. And Bernard Lapasset, RWCL chairman and the man with quite possibly the thickest, most entertainingly stereotypical French accent known to man, says ANZ is a good fit, being “a leading banking brand in the Asia Pacific market and a strong champion of sport” (the RWC 2011 sponsorship complements its other sporting sponsorships which include the trans-Tasman ANZ netball championship, the Australian Open Tennis and the ANZ Pacific Nations Cup).

“The strength of the commercial programme is integral to the success of Rugby World Cup and the development of the game worldwide and this exciting relationship is a massive boost for the tournament,” he says.

ANZ New Zealand’s chief executive officer Jenny Fagg says supporting the event is a sign of ANZ’s continued commitment to the New Zealand market. And it also aligns with its goal to be a super regional bank (remember this little super regional gaffe?) and grow its presence in the Asia Pacific region.

“The tournament will be broadcast to more than 475 million homes within Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific, the regions in which ANZ operates,” Fagg says. “So RWC 2011 will showcase New Zealand to Asia Pacific, a region ANZ, the New Zealand Government and our business community all want to develop stronger ties with.”

Fagg says ANZ already has banking relationships with businesses involved in RWC 2011 in areas such as hospitality, catering and ticketing, so moving up the sponsor ladder to become a worldwide partner was a logical step.

Unsurprisingly, the amount ANZ paid to be a worldwide partner wouldn’t be divulged, but the fact the bank recently announced an underlying profit for the half year ended 31 March of $2.3 billion (up 23 percent on the preceding half and 20 percent higher than the prior corresponding period) means it looks like it can afford to splash out a bit. It is thought that Heineken may have paid as much as US$20 million for RWC 2011 sponsorship rights, with a similar amount slated to be spent on activation and hosting.

“I am confident our sponsorship will open up significant new opportunities for our customers and other New Zealand businesses locally and throughout the Asia Pacific region,” she says.

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