Land Rover has had a long-standing association with rugby on a global scale for a number of years, and as it turns out, the luxury car manufacturer strategically chooses rugby in Australia as one of the key sponsorship pillars to the Land Rover brand.
The company first entered the Australian market as a sponsor of the Brumbies Super Rugby team before taking over BMW as the Wallabies major sponsor two years ago.
The brand association that customers have with Rugby and Land Rover is what makes the sponsorship really valuable, says General Manager of Communications and Public Relations at Jaguar & Land Rover Australia, Tim Krieger.
“What we identified globally, is that the rugby audience is highly relevant for the brand, its a high-income demographic, its a family audience too and that suits our vehicles very well,” Krieger told Ministry of Sport.
“Our vehicles are driven by people who want a car that can take them anyway and be part of their lifestyle and I think that audience is a rugby audience and I think that fits us very well.
“When you think of partnerships, if you can say to people that your brand is associated with a particular property and people understand it straight away, then that to me is a pretty good fit and that’s what happens with rugby.”
Land Rover currently has partnerships with the Rugby World Cup, the English Premiership, the Springboks in South Africa, associations with rugby in France and has just announced an increased sponsorship with Rugby Australia to include the Women’s 7’s team.
“Traditionally, Land Rover has been a more male-dominated brand, simply because of some of the models we have had in our range.
“However, we have introduced new models and getting involved with the Rugby 7’s allows us to communicate more directly with the female buyer.
“The other thing that has attracted us to the property is that 7’s rugby is really the growing part of the whole rugby ecosystem, especially for women.
“So this partnership is a way for us to tap into this audience and give our brand some exposure.”
Some commentators believe rugby in Australia is in trouble, but not according to Chief Commercial Officer of Rugby Australia, Cam Murray.
“The Wallabies win against Argentina at Suncorp in July attracted a crowd of over 31,000 – that’s the largest test crowd in Australia since 1995.
“People keep talking about rugby in Australia being broken and it’s simply not true,” he said.
“The Wallabies Bledisloe cup match against the All Blacks in Perth was sold out in six days and achieved a ground record crowd of 61,241 at Optus Stadium.
Despite being knocked out in the quarter-finals at this years’ Rugby World Cup and facing a challenging year of bad publicity with Israel Folau, Rugby Australia has signed crucial sponsorship deals and appointed new staff in key positions.
“We have signed deals with OLA and Bose, as well as BET365 who have renewed their involvement with Rugby Australia for the next four years.
“We have up-skilled our level of services by employing a new sponsorship services team manager to work on delivering rights and benefits directly to our sponsors.
“We have also employed a new head of content and digital to lead future strategy with the partnerships team and the rest of the business around increasing our digital sales assets.
Although expectations have graduated from LED signage and apparel, Cam believes Rugby Australia has never been in a better position to fulfil the growing demand for commercial partnerships.
“The Wallabies brand is a global brand,” he said.
“We are working smarter with our partners and developing unique content to deliver the right messages through all our platforms, especially digital.
With Rugby becoming one of the fastest-growing female sports in the world, Rugby Australia has experienced an increased interest in commercial support for women’s team as they look to defend their gold medal in Tokyo next year.