Australian hotel and casino operator Crown Resorts has agreed a three-year front-of-shirt sponsorship deal with National Rugby League (NRL) leaders the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The deal, which is reportedly worth AUS$3 million (US$2.97 million) in total, sees Crown become the Rabbitohs’ major home corporate partner. As such, the company’s logo will appear on the front of the team’s jerseys during all home matches until the end of the 2016 NRL season.
The announcement comes after rival Sydney-based casino chain The Star decided not to renew as the team’s primary sponsor.
The deal was reportedly struck between Hollywood superstar Russell Crowe, a co-owner of the Rabbitohs, and James Packer, a billionaire casino magnate and owner of Crown Resorts.
Crown recently announced plans to build an AUS$1 billion hotel and casino complex at the Barangaroo South site in Sydney.
South Sydney Rabbitohs chief executive Shane Richardson said: “Crown will be more than just a logo on the front of our home jersey. They will be a valued member of the Rabbitohs family, with our aim to be the number one sporting organisation in Australia.
“We’re excited by their plans for the Barangaroo South precinct and the opportunities that this will open up for our club, opportunities for Souths Cares, and other organisations with whom we work. We are currently planning for our short and long-term futures and Crown will become a major part of what we can achieve both on and off the field.
“We will always be grateful to the The Star and their management team for partnering with us over the past two-and-a-half seasons and, of course, we still have the remainder of this season to go. The Star chose not to take up the option within their contract to continue their major partnership arrangement with us, as is their right to do so.”
Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie added: “Crown’s sponsorship with Souths will build on our training partnership with the Penrith Panthers Football Club and our wonderful sponsorship of the Melbourne Storm. Rugby league is part of Australia’s social fabric and we are proud to be aligned with these great clubs.”