12 Oct 2012

No outcry likely from apathetic All Blacks fans

7:29 pm on 12 October 2012

A rugby journalist says that selling off the front of the All Blacks jersey is undervaluing an asset of inestimable value.

Radio New Zealand broke this story back in July after Jed Thian of the Alternative Rugby Commentary revealed the pending sale of the space on the iconic black jersey to the American corporate AIG on Radio New Zealand.

The front of the All Black jersey will display the logo for the global insurance company, American International Group, in white letters - along with Adidas and the silver fern.

It'll be the same look across all major New Zealand rugby uniforms after the NZRU and AIG clinched the five and a half year sponsorship deal, believed to be the second most valuable rugby sponsorship in the world - behind the Adidas contract.

Thian is highly critical of the development, he says the NZRU is selling out the people who made the black jersey great, for short-term gain.

He maintains that AIG's logo not only cheapens the black jersey -it is in fact no longer the All Black jersey.

But Thian says the NZRU's managed the process quite well of softening up the public to a prominent shirt sponsor, and he doubts there'll be much of an outcry from a weary rugby public.

The first outing for the AIG logo on the New Zealand rugby jerseys will be this weekend's opening round of the IRB's Sevens World Series on the Gold Coast.