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New Zealand Rugby confirms Altrad All Blacks sponsorship

French construction firm's six-year deal also covers women's, sevens and junior teams.

27 August 2021 Ed Dixon
  • Altrad to take over from AIG as front of shirt sponsor from 2022
  • Ineos and Amazon had been linked with deals
  • Altrad already partners with French Rugby Federation and owns Top 14 side Montpellier Hérault Rugby

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced French building materials company Altrad as its new front of jersey sponsor for the men’s All Blacks and women’s Black Ferns national teams.

Altrad has signed a six-year deal with the national governing body, which also includes the All Blacks Sevens, Black Ferns Sevens, Māori All Blacks and the New Zealand U20s teams. The new contract will kick in from 2022.

Reports NZR and Altrad were in talks first emerged in April, with French outlets L’Equipe and Midi Olympique stating the deal would be worth €18 million (US$21.1 million) for 2022 and 2023.

NZR has been in the market for a new main shirt sponsor since the start of 2020 after the organisation announced American International Group (AIG) would not renew its deal at the end of this year.

The US finance and insurance company initially partnered with NZR in 2012, penning a five-year contract reportedly worth NZ$80 million (US$55.6 million). The agreement was renewed in 2016, with reports speculating it was worth in the low tens of millions annually.

Prior to Altrad’s involvement, petrochemicals manufacturer Ineos was linked with a deal to take over from AIG. That drew criticism from environmental groups, with Greenpeace urging NZR and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) to reject any deal. The environmental organisation described Ineos as a “merchant of plastic pollution”.

Ineos later inked a six-year partnership with NZR reportedly worth NZ$8 million (US$5.6 million) annually, which covers branding on the back of playing shorts and on the front of training jerseys.

Ecommerce giant Amazon was also reportedly in discussions with NZR over a shirt sponsorship deal said to be worth NZ$20 million (US$13.9 million) per year.

For Altrad, the tie-up deepens its ties in rugby union. In 2018, the firm agreed a partnership with the French Rugby Federation (FFR) until 2023, which is reportedly worth €35 million (US$41.1 million). The company also owns French Top 14 club Montpellier Hérault Rugby.

“In creating this partnership, we have recognised Altrad’s founding principles of courage, respect, solidarity, conviviality and humility as truly relevant to our game – and with the support of their international footprint, we will continue to build our global legacy in rugby,” said Mark Robinson, NZR chief executive.

“We are excited by the opportunity for both parties to deepen connections with communities by providing All Blacks clinics to children and young people, and leadership learnings around the world. We are incredibly proud to have agreed to this partnership and look forward to getting underway next year.”

Mohed Altrad, founder and president of Altrad, added: “Rugby upholds the values that I have always defended in my life. New Zealand Rugby is the embodiment of these values on and off the pitch. With our parallel journeys from indigenous roots to international success, the partnership between Altrad and NZR is a natural next step in our pathways. 

“The power of rugby to connect people and inspire communities cannot be understated and is an area we will champion through our relationship with NZR. Altrad is proud to begin its long-term partnership and start writing a defining legacy in the sport alongside the teams in black.”

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