Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Sponsorship -If you love it, LV= it! Great afternoon at the Big Stoop

Even on holiday I can't escape the world of selling!

Today even the name of sports' stadia can be sold to Corporate Sponsors e.g.Arsenal's "Emirates" stadium. The Stoop - Harlequins Rugby Club's ground is named after a distinguished Harlequins player Adrian Stoop 1883-1957. Its stadium can hold 14,800 or so.

On occasion the club plays at Twickenham's RFU Ground whose stadium has a somewhat larger capacity.

On the 27th of December 2010 the "Mighty Quins" (Harlequins RFC) played London Irish at the home of English Rugby in round 11 of the Aviva Premiership . Over 72,000 fans attended. It was a super holiday treat.

I’d not been to a Premiership Rugby Union game for years. I watched a couple of games last season of Ealing Rugby Club. Sponsorship at every Club level is key to the modern game. Ealing Rugby Club are sponsored by Trailfinders travel business.

But the scale of sponsorship for the likes of clubs like Harlequins is of a different order.

(I am old enough to remember when at half time players stayed on the pitch and had a sliced orange segment!)

Nowadays one is more likely to see a player swig Gatorade or some other “sports drink” carefully showing the logo to the TV cameras and millions of viewers.

Monday’s event was a show biz extravaganza There were LV=cheerleaders, animal mascots and even fireworks to set the show on its way.
Pre-match warm up acts were drawn from the stars from the X factor TV show including winner Matt Cardle, Rebecca Ferguson and Jamie Archer performed before the match and at half time.

Even the match ball was delivered on a hovercraft with Father Christmas on board!

Sky sports were the media broadcaster. Ticketmaster were the official ticketing partner, and Help a London Child as the Quins partner charity was repeatedly announced over the PA system through the promotion of special edition shirts.

LV= were the Official Big Game sponsor.

The re-branding of Liverpool and Victoria Friendly Society has been a great success.
From a position of 26th in the most well known brand in the insurance world just a couple of years ago,it now is up with the likes of Churchill,Direct Line, AA, Aviva and More Than. The former heritage brand of the Liverpool and Victoria Friendly Society whose HQ is now ironically in Bournemouth has the brand name LV= . It has re-established this famous company now back into its rightful position. Playing on the LV wording resembling ‘love’ ( the V is a heart shape in their advertising imagery) they have successfully linked in people's mind that they look after what people love in life - their cars, their homes, their retirement funds.

Rugby sponsorship is big business. One of the reasons the Premiership Rugby sponsorship appealed to Aviva so much apparently was the game’s values of teamwork and respect which still exists within the game. Through their adverts they want to show that an Aviva Premiership Rugby team is about far more than just the players on the pitch.

Aviva signed a four-year sponsorship deal of Premiership Rugby in July 2010.

The deal is worth £20m and includes significant investment in grassroots rugby.

Quins' Corporate Sales: So it is at Club level in the sport.Quins have 5 grades of corporate sponsors.
In the £5.00 glossy programme, Sales Manager, Julian Gent’s welcoming piece to Corporate Hospitality clients shows an impressive set of sponsoring clients.

The No. 1 main sponsor is Etihad Airways. There are 3 Official sponsors (Burgandy)are Green King IPA , LV= and Norton Rose, followed by 7 Official Sponsors ( Green) including Brita , Timberland and Alfa Romeo, 31 Diamond Club members and finally 32 Gold debenture holders.

Sales can be contacted on 0208 410 6024 Click for Corporate Hospitality Sales at Harlequins

The colourful harlequin colours ,of course, lend themselves to merchandise - a useful brand extension to the Quins. Products range from £10 for a Beanie (hat) , scarves at £12.50 to kids shirts @ £35-£40 to adult sized shirts @ £ 50

Harlequins also take their Corporate Social Responsibility seriously through the Try Learning initiative. Click for Try Learning

Quins also support Right to Play whose belief is that every child irrespective of race, race, religion, social status or disability has the right to play and the right to a childhood.
Click to find out more about Right to Play

So far as the match was concerned…
The sides were evenly matched and the score line was made up of penalty scores and one try. It was a match more for those who like their rugby technical. The skill and athleticism of the players was impressive ( and guilt inducing for me as it was a reminder to get back to the gym and work off some of the Christmas Turkey and trimmings!)

It was a closely fought game and off the pitch the crowd enjoyed the Mexican waves surged around the National Stadium. Quins won 28-18 but London Irish looked dangerous and fought right up to the end of the game.
A great day out.

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