New Zealand's giant rugby ball graced the Eiffel Tower four years ago - now the Rugby World Cup winning All Blacks will have an office in the French capital.
The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) will open its first offshore office in Paris by the end of 2011, focused on securing sponsorship for the All Blacks – one of the top 10 sporting brands in the world.
The office, a joint venture between the NZRU and Avenport Investment Group, aims to attract new sponsors and other potential commercial partners in the lucrative French market.
NZRU CEO Steve Tew says that while overseas sponsorship agencies had been working for the NZRU for several years, this was the first office presence offshore.
“We see this as the next step for the All Blacks brand if we want to be seen to take this market seriously.
“France is the biggest market for the All Blacks outside of New Zealand. Their rugby fans are big supporters of the team.”
Avenport Investment Group chairman Eric Series says his company will bring local expertise in the French market as well as a network of business connections.
“We want to build on the existing partnership we have with the All Blacks and assist the NZRU with commercial opportunities in this part of the world.”
Avenport Investment Group recently helped the NZRU raise NZ$90,000 for the Canterbury earthquake appeal fund through an auction in Paris of rugby memorabilia.