After numerous sacrifices for the NRL, the Warriors are faced with another after the league informed them Vodafone cannot be its naming rights sponsor, reports the NZ Herald.
The Warriors packed up and moved to Australia to stay in the season and the club’s entire staff agreed to base-level wage. Now, an annual $1m deal is set to be cut off.
Vodafone has sponsored the club for 22 years and was signed on for another two years, but the NRL has informed them the deal can no longer go ahead due to a telecommunications exclusivity clause with the NRL’s major sponsor Telstra.
Telstra has had this right since 2015.
The NZ Herald reports that if Vodafone does not retain naming rights that they will no longer be involved with the club in any way.
This means the club may see more than $1m a season disappear.
“The Warriors have been advised their naming rights deal with us is in conflict with the game-wide rights of Telstra,” a Vodafone insider told the NZ Herald.
“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.”
The acting chief executive for the NRL, Andrew Abdo told the publication the circumstances were “unfortunate”.
“Telstra has been the naming rights partner of the premiership for a long period of time and invest significantly in the game,” Abdo said.
“All clubs benefit from this investment.
“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.”
Abdo claims the NRL has tried for years to explain to the Warriors the conflict of interest that lies in its sponsorship deal.
This is so stupid. Thanks for saving our season warriors so Telstra can still have its name plastered all over the game… Now about your major sponsor, we need to talk. Warriors should just walk away at this point https://t.co/mvy73ODKHv #NRL
— 24 Sep 1989 (@Raiders_24Sep89) August 17, 2020
They've been the Warriors' main sponsor for 22 years — and at a time when the the club are already battling the odds, the NRL could be about to force an end to the partnership.https://t.co/uNW5OW8LAA
— nzherald (@nzherald) August 17, 2020
Everyone remember when @ANZStadium banned the Rabbitohs from playing at home in their NAB sponsored jerseys? Me neither. It doesn't happen! @Telstra are being SOOKS. Let the @NZWarriors have their @vodafoneNZ sponsorship. @NRL need to push back here. pic.twitter.com/xUqYRRoCmM
— Sara Sassypants (@SaraSassypants) August 17, 2020