Sharp-eyed fans may have noticed the Sky Sport logo on the back of the Kiwi Ferns Nines jersey – well, a sponsorship and support partnership is now official between Sky Sport and New Zealand Rugby League; with a specific focus on the Kiwi Ferns, New Zealand’s national women’s Rugby League team. But the agreement goes much further with a raft of support designed to grow the game and its appeal to women and girls throughout the country.
“At the risk of repeating myself, our support for the Kiwi Ferns and women’s rugby league, is yet another example of how we’re going all out to grow and promote every aspect of women in sport in New Zealand from production and promotion through to playing and performing,” says Martin Stewart, CEO Sky.
“Women’s sport is fast gaining ground – it’s exciting, inspirational and the more we showcase how women and girls are achieving success, the more positive messages we can send about the benefits of being involved in sport.”
The agreement between Sky Sport and NZRL runs through until September 2023. The Kiwi Ferns will wear the Sky Sport logo on their jerseys and other kit whenever they represent New Zealand with all games being broadcast on Sky Sports and available through Sky Go and other Sky platforms.
Greg Peters, CEO NZRL says, “We are experiencing an explosion in the women’s game, and this high-profile partnership shines a brighter spotlight on this across all levels of the code.
“Sky’s support will provide more international playing opportunities for the Ferns as we look to carry on the momentum from this year’s outstanding World Nines win. Test football aside, Sky has come on board as an official naming rights sponsor for our new National Women’s Rugby League Competition and is also supporting our NZRL Roadshows we plan on implementing across the country next year designed to connect with and grow our younger playing generation.
“We are very much committed to growing the female game at all levels and we are extremely grateful that Sky Sport not only shares this vision but is willing to support us in such a large capacity.
Collectively, we are excited about what we can achieve and what momentum we will be able to create in the space as we work towards the 2021 World Cup.”
Kiwi Ferns Captain, Honey Hireme-Smiler, says, “We play because we love our country and we love rugby league and every girl who puts on that Black and White jersey is determined to represent New Zealand to the best of their ability. What’s awesome about this is that a partner like Sky Sport gives us more opportunity to showcase that commitment and at the same hopefully inspire the next generation of Kiwi Ferns coming through.
With this kind of support from grassroots through to the highest level of the game, Sky Sport is nailing its colours to the goalpost, says Stewart.
“We’ll grow our customer base by giving them access to the widest possible spectrum of sport. But it means more than simply whipping out a ‘chequebook’ and buying rights. We’re investing in sport itself, we’re investing in growing the game and we’re not leaving anyone behind.”