By Patrick Avenell
Chinese TV and appliance brand Changhong has announced its first major sports sponsorship, a partnership for 2013 with the Parramatta Eels in the NRL. The initial sponsorship is just for the 2013 season, though there is an option for a second year.
Changhong will be the de facto secondary sponsor after Pirtek. Under the terms of this deal, the Changhong brand will be featured on the back of Parramatta jerseys in all games throughout the season. There will also be Changhong signage on the goal posts for home games at Parramatta Stadium and signage around the ground.
To entertain its retail partners, Changhong has taken out a fully catered corporate suite at Parramatta Stadium and will also be furnishing the club with televisions to showcase the company’s products.
Mike Cacciola, director of sales and marketing at Changhong, told Current.com.au that this was the first step in a long process to introduce Australians to the Changhong brand. Throughout the year, Changhong will be releasing new ranges of Smart and Ultra HD TVs, refrigerators and air conditioners. Cacciola said Parramatta’s location and supporter base in the western suburbs of Sydney was Changhong’s target market.
This sponsorship deal follows the well-trodden path of emerging brands partnering with rugby league teams for exposure. Samsung (Sydney Roosters), LG (Western Suburbs Magpies and Cronulla Sharks), Haier (Wests Tigers) and Hisense (Cronulla Sharks) have all sought to increase their exposure through sports sponsorship.
Changhong’s first taste of big-time NRL exposure will come on Saturday 9 March 2013 when the Eels host the New Zealand Warriors at 5:30pm. The Eels’ first home match to be televised on free-to-air will be later that week, when they play the Canterbury Bulldogs on Thursday 14 March 2013 at ANZ Stadium.
During the first 20 rounds of the 2013 NRL season, Parramatta will have six matches broadcast on Channel Nine — four home games and two away games. The schedule for the remaining six rounds will not be finalised until later in the year.
Parramatta's primary jersey with the Changhong logo.
From left: Zoran Mitrovski (The Good Guys Bankstown), Peter Keegan (Harvey Norman Windsor), Steven Young, Ricky Stuart (Parramatta coach), Karl Holdsworth (The Good Guys Blacktown) and Paul Lum (Changhong).