Ospreys unveil 2009-10 shirt at Liberty Stadium

The Ospreys today (Thursday 13th August) revealed details of a shirt sponsorship package valued at in excess of £700,000 at the launch of their 2009/10 jersey at the Liberty Stadium, which is once again expected to be amongst the biggest selling shirts in UK and Irish club and regional rugby.

The region has extended its relationship with primary sponsors RWE npower renewables into a fifth season, making it the longest running sponsorship amongst the Welsh regions. Having begun its groundbreaking sponsorship deal with the Ospreys ahead of the 2005/06 season, RWE npower renewables plan to mark the fifth anniversary of its sponsorship with a number of special activities taking place throughout the year. The new shirt will, for the first time, bear the new RWE npower renewables logo, following the name change of the business earlier this year.

The shirt is once again produced by long-term partners Kooga, who have manufactured every Ospreys shirt to date. Existing secondary sponsors Worthington’s, Persimmon Homes, Trade Centre Wales, John West, Fujitsu and Cuddy Group have all agreed to extend their relationship with the Ospreys, whilst the region has secured new sponsorship deals with Veolia Transport and Maximuscle. The Ospreys have received an additional boost, with Persimmon and Veolia committing to three-year contracts, with Veolia confirmed as official coach operator for the Ospreys, providing a range of initiatives for schools and clubs within the region, and Worthington’s agreeing a two-year deal.

Ospreys Managing Director, Roger Blyth, said:

“We have tremendous pleasure in unveiling our shirt for the coming season, and once again, being able to confirm an extremely lucrative and impressive sponsorship package. It is particularly satisfying to be able to do so at this particular time, when the economic climate is tough and businesses in every sector are facing difficult circumstances.

“The Ospreys brand is continuing to grow and remains an attractive business proposition despite the credit crunch, and that is evidenced by the healthy mix of local, national, and international businesses that will work in partnership with us over the next twelve months, and in some cases, the next three years. The coming season promises to be an exciting one for Ospreys Rugby, as we look to build on the solid foundations that we have in place at the region.”

Paul Cowling, Managing Director for RWE npower renewables, added:

“We are delighted to be able to extend our relationship with the Ospreys into a fifth season. Our relationship has proven to be an extremely successful one, primarily down to the fact that both partners share core values such as innovation and sustainable growth, coupled with a strong commitment to invest in community initiatives that benefit rugby at grass roots.

“In February 2008, RWE Group, the owners of npower renewables, created a new operating company for all of its European renewable energy activities, known as RWE Innogy. In March this year, npower renewables took the decision to change its name to RWE npower renewables. This change is reflected in this season’s shirt, which for the first time bears our new logo. The RWE group’s brand slogan is ‘the energy to lead’, we aspire to be at the forefront of our industry, just as the Ospreys desire is to be recognised as one of Europe’s leading rugby teams. By working together in partnership, we can achieve this.”

Ospreys Managing Director Mike Cuddy added:

“To be able to confirm a sponsorship package of more than £700,000, which is once again believed to be amongst the most valuable in the club and regional game in this country, is a powerful business statement from the Ospreys ahead of the new season. Our relationship with RWE npower renewables continues to go from strength to strength, with both organisations now synonymous with each other, and as we look at the year ahead, there will be a number of community activities taking place that will cement this relationship even further.

“We are extremely grateful to all our sponsors, both existing and new, who continue to provide us with the financial support and stability to enable us to compete at the highest level. It is this ongoing backing that enables us, as a business, to plan for a long term, sustainable future at the top end of the European game.”

This season’s home shirt is black with a metallic gold trim, whilst the away strip is predominantly white with black and metallic gold trim. The new shirt incorporates Liquid Pro technology, a revolutionary new material that removes the need for players to wear compression garments underneath their shirts and will help to increase blood flow to the muscle groups, reducing lactic acid damage. Last season’s jersey again proved to be amongst the most popular in the UK and Ireland, selling more than 42,000 shirts for the second consecutive season.

Bill Newton, Managing Director of Kooga, the UK’s leading rugby shirt manufacturer, explained why the Ospreys shirt continues to be a commercial phenomenon, saying:

“The Ospreys are one of the few brands that we work with that will use colour, style and fabric to come up with a cutting edge shirt design. They have a progressive outlook on kit design and are happy to experiment, not allowing themselves to become bogged down with tradition. The reward for this positive and forward thinking is the phenomenal level of sales that they continue to enjoy. Metallic colours are very strong in fashion trends at the moment, which is why we’ve opted to incorporate gold into the new colour scheme. Gold is a colour associated with success, and the highest standard, it’s very association sends out a powerful psychological message.

“Last season’s sales were as strong as ever, despite the current economic climate which is an incredible performance and is a clear indication of the ongoing strength of the Ospreys brand. It will be harder to achieve that figure again this year; the credit crunch has had a real impact on the sports wear market internationally. However, with such an ‘in demand’ brand with some of world rugby’s most recognisable individuals, and Kooga’s strong distribution network, we would expect high sales once again, and already have confirmed pre-orders of 30,000 shirts in place with retailers nationwide for the new shirt, which is a fantastic performance in the current economic conditions.”

There will be two versions of the home jersey available to purchase, a ‘technical’ version, which is an exact replica of the shirt worn by players on a matchday incorporating the Liquid Pro technology, and a ‘supporters’ version, which is a more relaxed fit for comfort, while the away shirt will only be available in the ‘supporters’ version.