April 20 – New Zealand club side Wellington Phoenix have signed what they claim is the largest sponsorship deal in New Zealand football history with China’s Huawei. The deal is estimated to be worth $2 million a season, though no official figure was given.
The Phoenix have recently been granted a 10-year extension to its license by the FootballFederation Australia to play in Australia’s Hyundai A-League, the only team from the country to play in the league.
The Huaweil deal, announced in Beijing by Huawei global Board Director and Asia Pacific President Mr Li Jin’ge and was attended by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key as part of his visit to China, is a three-year extension to a deal first signed for the 2013/14 season.
“This partnership has been outstanding for Huawei, building our profile in Australasia, and providing amazing experiences for our customers and friends in New Zealand,” said Jin’ge.
As part of the deal Huawei’s logo will remain on the front of the Phoenix shirts and the club will play matches in Hong Kong and Beijing later this year.
While the Phoenix was Huawei’s first major football partnership, the company has raodly gone on to secure deals with leading clubs across Europe’s top leagues with Arsenal in the Premier League, Paris Saint-Germain in France’s Ligue 1, Atletico de Madrid in Spain’s La Liga, Borussia Dortmund in Germany’s Bundelsiga, and AC Milan in Italy’s Serie A.
Huawei has also signed Lionel Messi as a Global Brand Ambassador.
Phoenix general manager David Dome said having a partner with such global reach had brought new opportunities for the franchise.
“With Huawei we have been able to achieve some quite fantastic things,” said Dome. “We brought English Premier League sides West Ham and Newcastle United to play in Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin.
“We took on Atletico Madrid and Aston Villa while competing at the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens. And most importantly, we’ve been able to build a team which is playing the kind of football fans want to come and watch.”
While the New Zealand club has secured its future in Australia’s top league it has indicated that it is not doing so at any cost, saying that while the license is for 10 years the commmercial aspects of the broadcast and attendance revenues need to work out for the club to operate at this level.
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