The Melbourne Rebels have just signed a groundbreaking multi-year agreement with Kintetsu, further adding to the rugby clubs commercial relationships in Japan whilst also yielding a unique opportunity to align with Japanese Top League Rugby Club, Kintetsu Liners.
The new alliance represents the most significant partnership ever established between an Australian Super Rugby Club and a Japanese company, with the Melbourne Rebels and the Kintetsu Liners to exchange players, coaches, best practice and innovation over the next two years.
The Liners parent company, Kintetsu (近鉄), is a Japanese passenger railway company, managing infrastructure and operating passenger train services in Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tsu, Ise, and Yoshino.
Under the umbrella of holding company giant, Kintetsu Group Holdings Co. Ltd, Kintetsu Railway sits alongside Kintetsu World Express, Kintetsu Department Store and 141 other corporations.
Melbourne Rebels CEO, Mr. Baden Stephenson, said: “The Melbourne Rebels are committed to taking Melbourne to the world through a multi-faceted international strategy.
“We are blessed that Rugby is a truly global game and we are committed to being a conduit for investment into Victoria long-term,” Mr Stephenson said.
“We are developing strong relationships with many successful Japanese companies and utilising our expertise in Rugby to support the Liners efforts to regain their place in the Top League.’
“In the last two years, the Melbourne Rebels have proactively conducted trade missions to Japan, taking business delegations of over 100 people in total to Tokyo for our Super Rugby matches against the Sunwolves and making new diplomatic and corporate links.”
The Clubs will also seek to play exhibition games in Osaka and Melbourne each year with the clear ambition of improving the on-field performance and commercialisation of both clubs, as the Liners push to regain a position in the Japanese Top League competition.
Kintetsu Liners General Manager, Mr. Kagehiro Iizumi, added: “The Kintetsu Liners are very excited to have the expertise and people of the Melbourne Rebels working to advance our Club.
“We have always been impressed with the professionalism of the Rebels and we know that our partnership will be a strong driver for our future success.”
Kintetsu will join Melbourne Rebels long term partners Yakult, Citizen and Massey Ferguson, who hold an established position in both Melbourne and Tokyo.
Kintetsu has a developing commercial presence in Melbourne and further trade opportunities will be facilitated and built through the Rebels strong business networks.