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Commercial boost for New Zealand
NZPA
November 30, 2008
The New Zealand All Blacks perform the Haka ahead of their international against England at Twickenham, 29/11/08
The All Blacks will be wearing adidas until 2019 © Getty Images
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The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has received a massive financial boost after global sports apparel giant adidas extended their sponsorship deal through to 2019.

The multi-million dollar deal -- the exact amount remains confidential -- was signed off at the team's London hotel on the eve of the season-ending test at Twickenham.

"This is an opportunity to anchor a very significant proportion of our income for a long period of time," said NZRU chief executive Steve Tew.

"It gives the comfort to continue to plan not just at All Blacks level but also the community and club and school base level of our game.

"We're very humbled adidas are prepared to make for such a long period of time."

Tew said discussions on extending the deal intensified when both parties met at the Beijing Olympics. He would not speculate on the value of the contract which sees the current deal extended from 2011.

The financial commitment from adidas increases between 2012-16 and there is another boost from 2016-19.

"We have an agreement that the numbers aren't shared purely for commercial reasons," Tew said.

"We don't want our opposition to know what we can attract in the market.'

However, Tew said he would be surprised if there was a bigger sports sponsorship deal in place in New Zealand or involving a national rugby side throughout the world.

An All Blacks sponsor since 1999, adidas will unveil new home and away jerseys in May but were quick to point out the design of the traditional black strip will not alter.

"The integrity of the jersey and the authenticity of the jersey we commit to maintaining. There will be no radical changes there," said the global head of rugby and cricket for adidas Nick Drake.

Meanwhile 15 of the All Blacks' Grand Slam tour squad head to Milan this week to test their soccer skills against stars of the one of the world's most iconic clubs, AC Milan.

The All Blacks contingent head to Milan on Thursday where they will spend two days as guests of the Italian La Liga powerhouse -- the home of Brazilian World Cup-winning stars Ronaldinho and Kaka.

England, Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star David Beckham is also joining the club in late December.

The All Blacks will indulge in hybrid kicking competitions and skill sessions with their soccer counterparts at the AC Milan training base.

Later the AC Milan players have also offered to escort the All Blacks around their city on a evening sightseeing excursion.

"To get a chance to go and mix with a team like AC Milan, some of the biggest sports stars in the world, and see what they do is something pretty exciting," said All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

© NZPA
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