Chinese electronics company Hisense has expanded its partnership with the NRL, Australia’s top-tier rugby league competition, to include the Women’s Premiership (NRLW) as part of a three-year sponsorship renewal.
Under the new agreement, Hisense will continue as the NRL’s exclusive partner across its full range of products until the end of the 2025 season, building on its original three-year agreement running from 2020 to 2022.
The deal expansion will see the electronics company become an official partner of both the NRL men’s and women’s Premierships, having only previously sponsored the men’s competition. The agreement includes stadium branding, as well as digital and social media activations throughout the contract.
Hisense has also been named a major partner of the iconic State of Origin series, which features three matches between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons, as well as the Magic Round, which sees all eight matches played at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium over one weekend (May 5 to 7).
As part of the deal, Hisense has also secured rights to become the inaugural official presenting partner of the NRL’s live streaming platform NRL TV, which provides highlights, match replays, player profile videos, and other content across the NRL’s website and app.
Gideon Lui, head of marketing at Hisense Australia, said: “Renewing our NRL partnership just makes sense. In the last three years, we’ve seen the popularity of the NRL TV app of VIDAA (the OS for Hisense TVs) grow, with over 10 million Hisense TVs now featuring the app.
“The game is ingrained in Australian and New Zealand culture, and we’re proud to play a small part in bringing fans closer to the action across both sides of the Tasman.”
The 2023 NRL season started on March 2 and features an increased field of 17 teams after the inclusion of a fourth Queensland-based club, the Dolphins. The league will conclude on October 1.
The opening round of the season delivered record audiences for domestic rights holder Foxtel after more than 4.1 million viewers tuned in to the pay-television operator’s expanded lineup of matches.
Foxtel holds domestic rights to the NRL as part of a seven-year deal struck in 2020 worth around AUD200 million ($137.7 million) per season until 2027. As part of the deal, it airs all eight games each round, with five exclusive games each weekend, across its linear channel and Kayo Sports streaming platform.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said: “The NRL is proud to have a strong group of sponsors who invest in rugby league, none more so than Hisense Australia.
“They are a partner that enables a great sports entertainment experience to fans through their technology. We’re looking forward to continuing to grow the partnership to drive even greater value for fans of the game.”
The latest agreement comes two weeks after BeIN Sports France, part of the Qatar-controlled pay-TV sports network, renewed its rights to show NRL until 2025, having shown the league since 2012.
Last month, the NRL struck a five-year sponsorship renewal with KFC in a deal that has seen the international fast-food chain become the naming rights partner of Friday and Monday night domestic games through 2027.
At the end of last year, meanwhile, South Korean car brand Kia Australia struck a deal to become the naming rights partner of the league’s Thursday Night Football.