The All Blacks win in the Rugby World Cup has paved the way for major commercial prospects, but according to experts, could lose out if they don’t ditch the conservativeness and aim big.
Immediately prior to the tournament, brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance estimated the All Blacks brand to be worth around US$132 million, but after their third world cup victory, has stacked another US$36 million onto the brand.
The sporting event is the third most watched sporting occasion, and has a rather affluent fan base, making it the ideal commercial investment for sponsors and broadcasters alike.
The All Blacks have collected a string of commercial deals with companies such as Air New Zealand, AIG and Bulgari, on top of a money spinning TV rights deal and merchandising goldmine. But while brands are vying for a deal with the popular team, the All Blacks could be their own worst enemy if they fail to realise their potential.
“New Zealand are world champions and enjoy a historic win rate of 77 per cent, the closest thing to guaranteed success a sponsor of a major sport could hope for. The All Blacks are a sponsor’s dream off the field too, renowned for their fairness, good-sportsmanship and disciplined behaviour,” Brand Finance head of sports marketing Bryn Anderson said.
“The All Blacks and the NZRFU must seize the opportunity to maximise the commercial opportunities that their brand presents.”
“Adidas extended its deal to 2019 while the fees for broadcast and content rights have been agreed with Sky TV until 2020, meaning two key commercial deals cannot be renegotiated for over three years. In addition, the NZRFU have in the past taken a conservative approach to establishing new deals, cautious of the sense of ownership that many Kiwis feel for their national team.”
Anderson said the popularity of Rugby is growing rapidly, particularly in the US, and that existing sponsors like AIG, Adidas and Air New Zealand would be “more than happy” to back the All Blacks’ foray into the world’s top markets.
“If managed properly to ensure brand fit, there is no reason they couldn’t establish dozens of global, top-tier partnerships in the same way that football clubs such as Manchester United have done,” she said.
“A willingness to expand and segment commercial partnerships will be important. So too will be increasing the visibility of the team outside of major tournaments by staging exhibition games, particularly in the US, or even locating competitive games in key growth regions, just as the NFL now does in the UK. Brand Finance’s analysis suggests that the All Blacks could command a US$500 million brand within a decade.”