NRL leaves Warriors with million-dollar headache after banning long-term sponsor
August 17, 2020 7:29pmSource: FOX SPORTS
Vodafone has been told it can no longer be the Warriors’ naming right sponsors.
Already asked to sacrifice so much for the NRL, the Warriors are now in sponsorship strife with the league informing the club Vodafone can no longer be its naming rights sponsor, reports the NZ Herald.
Vodafone has sponsored the Warriors for the past 22 years and still has two more on its current contract, but it has been informed that deal can no longer go on in its current guise due to a telecommunications exclusivity clause in favour of Telstra — the NRL’s major sponsor.
Telstra has reportedly had this right since 2015.
The NZ Herald reports Vodafone will not be involved with the club in any shape if it does not retain naming rights, meaning the Warriors could be seeing more than $1m a season walk out the door.
“The Warriors have been advised their naming rights deal with us is in conflict with the game-wide rights of Telstra,” the publication quoted a Vodafone insider.
“The NRL aren’t going to grant an exemption beyond the current season. All they offered was a derisory non-naming rights option as an alternative.
“We’re gutted … the NRL has told us our name isn’t welcome. This feels like another example of the Warriors getting the rough end of the stick.”
Signs the Warriors’ sponsorship deal was in danger first appeared when the NRL demanded the club took down Vodafone-branded goalpost protectors at its training ground in Gosford.
The NRL’s acting chief executive Andrew Abdo told the NZ Herald the situation was “unfortunate”.
“Telstra has been the naming rights partner of the premiership for a long period of time and invest significantly in the game,” Abdo was quoted. “All clubs benefit from this investment.”
He claimed the NRL had been working with the Warriors for years around the conflict of interest that exists in its sponsorship deal.
“It’s unfortunate that the Warriors and Vodafone have not been able to come up with a mutually beneficial solution, despite the NRL working closely on potential options to try and retain Vodafone as a partner for the Warriors.”