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Hisense Signs 3-Year Sponsorship Deal With The NRL

Electronics company Hisense has signed a new sponsorship deal with the National Rugby League to become a major sponsor for the State of Origin series and a naming rights sponsor for Thursday Night Football.

NRL boss Todd Greenberg confirmed he was talking with US-based digital giants Facebook and Amazon alongside setting a deadline to finalise his own contract negotiations with NRL chairman Peter V’landys.

The NRL State of Origin and Thursday Night Football has become one of the toughest ad markets in years, making it a big win for Hisense with becoming a major sponsor with naming rights for the code that delivers strong ratings.

‘With the 2020 NRL season almost upon us, it gives us great pleasure to formally announce Hisense’s major three-year sponsorship deal with the National Rugby League,’ the company said in a statement.

(Photo: Hisense Australia)

‘With a range of TVs perfectly suited to watching sport, it really is a marriage made in heaven. Tune in when the season kicks off on Thursday 12 March, and enjoy each and every game of Thursday Night Football – proudly sponsored by Hisense.’

Hisense has also secured itself as a major sponsor of the Telstra Premiership alongside the 2020 and 2021 State of Origin series, including digital integrations, social media and stadium branding.

‘It’s really good to bring in a new brand to rugby league in what is a tight sponsorship market in our industry. It’s good for rugby league to bring new brands into the game so we’re really looking forward to bringing in Hisense as one of our major partners,’ Greenberg told The Australian.

‘We’ve had tremendous growth over the last couple of years by net revenues and commercial programs, and this is another really nice addition to our program for 2020.’

Just last week, the NRL revealed strong results with a surplus of nearly $30 million, a drop of $13 million from 2019. The code explained that the $10 million loss in revenue was due to appalling player behaviour from the previous summer.

National Rugby League’s new logo unveiled. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

Greenberg revealed he had a strong focus for its non-broadcast business in an effort to resuscitate lucrative sponsorship deals.

But the NRL is still looking for a new naming rights sponsor for the 2021 State of Origin series after the announcement of Holden being wound up as a brand by parent company, GM.

‘That’s the real premier asset, the jewel in the crown in sports sponsorship in this country. When you look at the ratings of State of Origin being the highest-rated programs and TV bar none, so we certainly aren’t going to be short of interest,’ Greenberg told the publication.

The news comes as NRL chairman Peter V’landys and chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo visited the US last week to meet with Facebook and Amazon in San Francisco to discuss NRL rights – a move the code labels as exploring new opportunities in a shifting market.

Greenberg revealed that despite the current $1.8 billion broadcast deal with Fox Sports and Nine still being valid until the end of 2022, the US meetings were a necessary step to take in looking for new opportunity in the country.

NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

The NRL boss said the code is aware of significant shifts in the market that has taken place in recent years, with the NRL wanting to become well prepared and have their assets in order.

Greenberg’s future at the NRL is still unclear as the board is yet to sign off a new contact for the CEO, fuelling speculation V’landys himself may have an interest in the executive chairman role.

But Greenberg told The Australian he expects his contract to be finalised by the end of the first quarter this year, with his contract finishing at the end of this year.

NRL Chief Executive Officer Todd Greenberg. (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

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