By Patrick Avenell
SYDNEY, NSW: The Penrith Panthers are having a good week: on the back of a stirring 31-16 win over Canterbury which took them to equal first in the NRL, the club has announced an extension of its major sponsorship with Sanyo. The deal is for an extra year, with an option for two more years after that.
Sanyo was already the longest serving major sponsor of any NRL team, having adorned the famous chocolate solider strip since 2000. During that time, the club has gone through peaks and troughs similar to the Himalayas, with the 2003 Premiership the Everest of the association, and the 2001 Wooden Spoon the undeniable valley below.
Sanyo Oceania president and managing director, Bill Crichton, has been at the helm of Sanyo for the duration of this partnership. It’s been successful for Sanyo, as the Penrith area is home to the working families that make up Sanyo's core retail consumer base.
“We are ecstatic to extend our long term relationship with the Panthers and their supporters, whom we believe to be Rugby League’s heartland,” Crichton said in a statement.
“The decision to re-sign as the Panthers major sponsor is an indication of our commitment not only to the Panthers and their supporters, but is also a sign of our support and belief in the NRL and the game as a whole.”
Also happy with the agreement was Panthers marketing manager and former 78-game first grader Shannon Donato.
“I’m delighted that Sanyo has shown its commitment to our club over a prolonged period of time,” Donato said.
“Our partnership with Sanyo has experienced the highs and lows of many seasons with things looking very positive for the team in 2010.
The Panthers are currently second on the NRL ladder, equal with the top-placed St George Illawarra Dragons on 16 points. Only a differential 29 points inferior to the Dragons is keeping the Panthers from climbing from the foot of the mountains to the top spot.