NRL Chief Executive Dave Smith has declared that the 2013 Telstra Premiership season is the start of a new era for The Greatest Game of All.
Speaking in front of a glittering crowd of more than 400 players, coaches and guests at The Star, in Sydney, Mr Smith said that Rugby League was launching a whole new future for the game.
Jessica Mauboy leads an exciting new marketing direction that brings together every level of the game in a stunning tribute to the 2013 Telstra Premiership.
An excited Johnathan Thurston talked of his support for the sidelined Ben Barba as he launched the season on behalf of the players with a tribute to the fans.
Mauboy’s stunning live performance of the game’s anthem provided a spectacular backdrop as Rugby League counts down to the start of the most anticipated Telstra Premiership season in memory.
“We do more than launch a season tonight. We are launching a whole new future for the game,” Mr Smith said.
“Rugby League is on the verge of something special, a time of growth and a time of growing confidence.
“By working together across every level of the sport we can enter a period of unlimited opportunity.
“The plan is already in place, much of the heavy lifting has been done, it is now up to us to believe in the game, to believe in ourselves and to be bold in how we go about things.
“To grow the game on the field and off the field, from the under 6’s to the Telstra Premiership, in the boardrooms and in the classrooms, through the turnstiles and on television, we have to look at new ways of doing things.
“We need to be looking for opportunities, not looking over our shoulder.
“This is a time to think about where we want Rugby League to be and about how we want Rugby League to be seen.
“We have the best athletes, the best coaches, the greatest army of volunteers and the most diverse and passionate fans in the nation.
“We have a Telstra Premiership competition that is the closest and most spectacular in sport.
“We are not just the best game on television. Rugby League is The Greatest Game of All.
“The challenge now is to take the game to a new level and as Chief Executive I recognise the responsibility on the part of administrators to match the dedication and hard work of our players.”
In launching the season tonight on behalf of all players in the game, Thurston paid tribute to the game’s members and fans, volunteers, officials, mums, dads and players at all levels who all play a special role in making Rugby League The Greatest Game Of All.
“On behalf of every player in the game, let me say that you are our inspiration,” Thurston said.
“There are times when it is not easy, when the scrutiny can be overwhelming, times when others question your support and question the integrity of the game we love.
“But there is no doubt in my mind that Rugby League is The Greatest Game of All.
“I am proud to be a Rugby League player.
“I am proud to play in the toughest competition in the world, where the skills, power and courage of the players amaze fans each and every week.
“I am proud at the difference Rugby League makes to people’s lives, the way it brings families and communities together.
“I am proud Rugby League gives Indigenous Australia a national stage to showcase our heritage through the All Stars, as well as a chance for Indigenous players across the game to connect with their culture and for Indigenous kids to become learn earn legends.
“Every fan, every player, every team right now is dreaming of being there on Grand Final day and winning the NRL Telstra Premiership, myself included.
“I can’t wait for the season to start.”
A re-mix of the classic Etta James track 'Something's Got a Hold On Me’, the game’s new anthem is the centrepiece of Rugby League’s first whole-of-game brand promotion celebrating the game’s unique power to bring people together and enrich their lives.
From the fun of Under-6s and Coles Backyard League to the skill and power of the Telstra Premiership, the passion of Holden State of Origin and the pride of representing the Kangaroos and Kiwis, everyone who touches the ball is empowered to achieve things they never thought possible.
And it is all perfectly captured in Mauboy’s new high-energy anthem, the first since the game’s iconic Tina Turner soundtracks from the 1989-1990 seasons to feature a female performer and the first in major Australian sport to star an Indigenous artist.
The biggest game-wide campaign in Rugby League history features a series of 30 and 60-second TVCs and will be complemented with extensive retail activation, outdoor, press, radio and digital campaigns that have been developed in partnership with award-winning advertising agency MJW and Sony Music Entertainment Australia.
Significantly, the multi-layered campaign design provides for NRL clubs to tailor brand executions for their individual markets, as well as the game’s community programs, which will take fans beyond the sideline and celebrate Rugby League’s partnerships with the Men of League Foundation, Harvey Norman Women In League and other community and charity programs.
The campaign will also feature an Australian sports first innovation, allowing NRL fans the chance to edit their own version of the advertisement to include more footage of their favourite team and players.
Fans can visit NRL.com/2013 to take the editor’s seat and upload their version to their own personal NRL.com page and share with friends via social media.
A full version of ‘Something’s Got A Hold On Me' has also been produced and is available at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/somethings-got-hold-on-me/id606747458?ls=1.