Vodafone returns to Rugby as Super Rugby naming rights sponsor five years after ending all sport sponsorships

Vodafone’s on again off again relationship with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) as a major sponsor has turned another page with the telco signing on as the headline sponsor of the Super Rugby series.

vodafone-rugbyVodafone has signed a four-year deal to be the naming rights sponsor of the competition, which hosts teams in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

The deal marks a return to sports sponsorship almost five years after Vodafone cut its ties with sport – axing agreements with the Vodafone V8 Supercar Team and Cricket Australia – in order to focus on rebuilding its network, which had been subjected to a series of embarrassing failures.

At the time executives said the phone company needed to get back to basics as a service provider rather than spending money on sponsorships.

While the company ended local sports sponsorships it continues to leverage global partnerships in other sports.

Vodafone ended its Supercar sponsorship in 2012.

Vodafone ended its Supercar sponsorship in 2012.

The new deal with Vodafone marks the brand’s return to the sport in Australia, previously emblazoned across Wallabies’ jerseys from 1998 to 2003. It was also naming right’s partner for Super Rugby from 2001 to 2003.

ARU CEO, Bill Pulver, said the return of Vodafone to the ranks of Rugby sponsors was a welcome one.

Vodafone and Australian Rugby have a long history together dating, back to when the Vodafone logo first appeared on the Wallabies’ jerseys in 1998 and we are proud to welcome them back as the naming rights partner for Super Rugby in Australia for the next four years,” Pulver said.

“You could argue that this is the biggest ‘comeback’ in Australian Rugby this season and we look forward to working with Vodafone to make this 22nd season of Super Rugby in Australia the best yet.”

The deal also includes Vodafone taking the back jersey sponsorship for the Wallaroos – the latest brand to jump into the explosive women’s sport market.

Ben McIntosh said the deal rekindles an old relationship with Rugby.

McIntosh: “The deal rekindles an old relationship with Rugby”

Ben McIntosh, who recently took on the newly-combined sales and marketing role of customer business director, said the sponsorship was a chance to return to the success the brand had enjoyed with the ARU in the past.

“With teams based across the country, Super Rugby gives Vodafone a chance to show off the significant investment in the network we have made throughout Australia,” McIntosh said.

The brand is currently seeking a new creative agency in Australia after parting ways with Cummins & Partners in 2016.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.