October 2013 marks the one year anniversary of AIG entering into a historic partnership with New Zealand Rugby (NZR). As Major Global Sponsor and the Official Insurance Partner, AIG proudly supports six NZR teams: the All Blacks, Maori All Blacks, All Blacks Sevens, New Zealand Women’s Sevens, Black Ferns, and New Zealand Under 20. As the front-of-jersey sponsor for the iconic All Blacks, the partnership has helped AIG build brand recognition across the globe.
“The partnership between AIG and New Zealand Rugby resonates with our employees, customers, and partners around the world,” says AIG President and CEO Bob Benmosche. “The relationship has given us tremendous opportunities. By associating the AIG brand with New Zealand Rugby and the legendary All Blacks, we’ve been able to develop new business relationships in key emerging markets.”
Says AIG Property Casualty CEO Peter Hancock, “Having been at the launch event, I’m amazed to see how far we’ve come in just one year. AIG is proud to be the All Blacks’ front-of-jersey sponsor, and we’re excited to see what’s still to come for this truly powerful global partnership. It’s an ideal fit.”
AIG and the All Blacks have a lot in common. Both have faced adversity, value tenacity, and continue to beat the odds. The All Blacks are one of the world’s most respected, high performance teams, with one of the best winning records of any sports team. AIG is a market leader helping clients in over 100 countries and jurisdictions, and is respected for providing innovative solutions that meet their needs.
The partnership of two world-leading organizations has many benefits for AIG, NZR, and the sport of rugby. Rugby is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, popular in markets where AIG is established, and growing in popularity in many of the same emerging markets AIG is focused on. As AIG and rugby both expand their reach, the company and NZR both look forward to helping build awareness of rugby in even more markets with fans around the world.
The NZR partnership also offers AIG a unique opportunity to tell its story of rebuilding, and engage employees and customers in new, exciting ways. In the first year of the sponsorship, AIG colleagues in all of the 16 countries where NZR teams have played welcomed and showed their enthusiastic support for the teams and for the sport. Local offices have organized events for clients, colleagues, and charities, creating unique and memorable experiences.
Highlights of the sponsorship so far include an All Blacks sketch competition, which generated entries from around the world; an app development competition allowing developers to harness the power of big rugby data; and a wide range of employee initiatives, including training and culture exchange programs in Buenos Aires, Guangzhou, Moscow, and Tokyo, among others.
Other benefits of the sponsorship include:
Favorable media coverage
For example, AIG continues to be recognized for its respectful approach to its front-of-jersey logo placement. The approach to logo placement was recognized when AIG and NZR received an award for Best Commercial Partnership at the 2013 NZ Sport and Recreation Awards.
AIG and NZR are working together to identify charitable programs that AIG can help support, such as Rippa Rugby, Community Rugby, Cure for Kids, Disabled Rugby, etc. As part of the sponsorship, $100,000 is being dedicated each year to charitable community initiatives in New Zealand.
During AIG’s first-ever Rugby Week in June, employees were invited to “Get Involved” in rugby events around the world, including a Rugby Rally in Houston involving 500 employees and players from the USA Eagles. Also, AIG volunteers and 75 teams from elementary and middle school programs in New York City participated in a one-day tournament as part of the 6th Annual NYC Rugby Cup.
Social media recognition
The All Blacks Facebook is the most popular rugby fan page in the world, with over two million fans, and @AIG_Rugby has over 21,000 followers on Twitter. On television, spots from the “It’s Our Job” campaign are playing around the world in countries including New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Africa, the UK, France, Italy, and Argentina. The IRB Sevens World Series in Moscow reached an estimated 390 million homes, and 240 million homes in 100 countries and jurisdictions saw news bulletins carrying footage.
These activities coincided with the first of the three All Blacks tests against France in New Zealand, where the AIG-branded jersey made its first appearance on home soil.
It has also been a year of significant success for NZR. After a five try, 33-0 rout of England, the All Blacks Sevens won the Moscow Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 in July. This was the first time since 2001 that they were crowned World Champions. The victory followed the first World Championship title for the New Zealand Women’s Sevens, who defeated Canada at the same event. New Zealand is now World Champions in both men’s and women’s fifteens and sevens – an achievement unequalled by any other rugby nation.
The All Blacks also claimed The Investec Rugby Championship after winning against rival South Africa 38-27 in a match for the ages. Also, at the 2012 annual International Rugby Board (IRB) Awards in London, the All Blacks were named IRB Team of the Year for the sixth time, with Head Coach Steve Hansen winning IRB Coach of the Year, and Vice-Captain Dan Carter, IRB Player of the Year, for the second time.
This past May, NZR and AIG announced that the Maori All Blacks will play against Canada and the U.S. in a two-match tour, made largely possible by AIG’s arrival as a major global sponsor.
Concludes NZR CEO Steve Tew, “One year on, New Zealand Rugby has seen huge benefits from having such a committed and passionate partner on board who shares our values. We promised the AIG partnership would take rugby to more fans around the world and lift the profile of our game, and this past year, we have seen plenty of evidence of that – from billboards in Moscow, to bringing underprivileged kids to see the All Blacks train in Buenos Aires, through to helping the Maori All Blacks play in North America. This is just the start, so we are incredibly thankful for AIG’s huge efforts so far in making this partnership come alive.”