Ospreys Shirt Sales Continue To Soar

The wraps today (Thursday 9th August) came off one of the most valuable shirts in UK rugby when the Ospreys unveiled their new-look jersey for the 2007/08 season at the Liberty Stadium.

The wraps today (Thursday 9th August) came off one of the most valuable shirts in UK rugby when the Ospreys unveiled their new-look jersey for the 2007/08 season at the Liberty Stadium.

Boasting a sponsorship value of £650,000, the largest in the northern hemisphere domestic game, the Kooga manufactured shirt will be emblazoned with the logo of headline sponsor npower renewables for a third season, along with secondary sponsors, Persimmon Homes, Worthington"€™s, John West, Taylors Regional Foods, Trade Centre Wales, Trade Depot, Cuddy Group, and Solo Service Group, along with Stadium Motors on the shorts.

Last season"€™s jersey once again proved to be one of the most popular in the UK and Ireland, with sales in excess of 40,000 making it second only to Magners League rivals Munster, and outselling Guinness Premiership giants Leicester Tigers. That figure looks set to be smashed by the new 2007/08 strip, with Kooga confirming that retailers across the UK pre-ordered a phenomenal 30,000 shirts ahead of today"€™s launch. Bill Newton, Managing Director of Kooga, the country"€™s leading rugby shirt manufacturer said:

"€œThe Ospreys shirt continues to be something of a sales phenomenon. A record number of shirts were sold last season, and early indications are that the 2007/08 version will prove to be the most popular yet given the incredibly high level of pre-orders received. Last season was a very successful one on the pitch for the Ospreys, with a second Magners League title, whilst their appearance at Twickenham for the EDF Energy Cup Final would have introduced the region to a whole new audience, providing a significant boost to sales.

"€œThe Ospreys have a very progressive outlook when it comes to shirts, the region fully embraces the new technology and designs that we come up with, and are always prepared to push the boundaries of rugby kit design. This winning combination of success, innovative kits and some of rugby"€™s most well known and recognisable personalities all play their part in driving sales. All in all, more than 70,000 items of Ospreys/Kooga material were sold throughout last season, an incredible figure that really does put into perspective what a phenomenon the Ospreys are.

"€œWhen you look at these statistics, it"€™s hardly surprising that the sponsorship value is so high. Given the extensive media coverage that the Ospreys enjoy, and with so many people wearing the shirt on a day-to-day basis, sponsorship of the region is a value for money way of promoting a brand."€

The new-look Ospreys home shirt is predominantly black, with white trim and grey panelling on the torso, whilst the away strip sees the black and white reversed. The shirt incorporates brand new Body Map technology, designed to give unrivalled fit, allowing the garment to stretch to fit the individual"€™s body whilst preventing opposition players from being able to grip the shirt. In addition, it features Evaporex, a revolutionary new breathable anti-microbial and anti-bacterial fabric that draws away moisture from the torso, creating the ideal body climate.

The most significant change to the shirt sees the Ospreys "€˜mask"€™ replacing the traditional crest that has featured since the formation of the region in 2003.

Roger Blyth, Ospreys Managing Director, commented:

"€œThe replacement of the original crest with the much loved "€˜mask"€™ logo is a significant moment for the Ospreys, and signifies how far we have come as a regional entity in just four years. When we formed in 2003 as a joint venture between Neath and Swansea, the original crest seemed an appropriate way of celebrating the heritage of the two founder clubs, incorporating elements of both clubs badges. In 2005, as an extended region we made the bold move of dropping the "€˜Neath-Swansea"€™ from our name. Now, with our support base continuing to grow and evolve beyond all recognition, we feel that introducing the highly distinctive "€˜mask"€™ to the playing strip is a clear indication of our commitment to regional rugby.

"€œAt the Ospreys we pride ourselves on our strong regional identity, and we believe that this change will further enhance this. Our shirt is already a symbol of the strength of the Ospreys; as one of the best selling shirts in the UK and Ireland, it is symbolic of the rapid growth we have enjoyed, on and off the field, whilst its sponsorship value is indicative of a strong brand that big businesses, both national and local, want to be associated with. Everyone at the Ospreys is confident that our supporters right across the region will be delighted to see the "€˜mask"€™ at the forefront throughout what promises to be another exciting season.

"€œWe would like to thank all sponsors for showing their support of, and commitment to the region. The broad diversity of sponsors reflects the enduring appeal of the Ospreys shirt."€

Kooga and the Ospreys are currently working on a "€˜one-off"€™ charity shirt that will be unveiled shortly, in the same vein as the highly successful "€˜pink"€™ shirt (supporting Cancer Research UK), made for the Newcastle Falcons last season.

From today, the new Ospreys shirts will be sold exclusively at the Liberty Stadium Superstore and the Ospreys website http://www.ospreysrugby.com/, for a three week period, before they go on general sale across the UK, costing £49.95 for adults and £35 for children.