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DUCO Events has announced a major naming rights agreement with Dick Smith which will see the consumer electronics company sponsor the NRL Auckland Nines for the next five years.

The deal was announced today during the draw for the February tournament at Dick Smith’s flagship Sylvia Park store, led by Auckland Mayor Len Brown, NRL commercial director Paul Kind and Dick Smith Director of Operations Armando Pedruco.

Ticket revenue for the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines has already edged over $NZ2 million – a sure sign that the event at Eden Park has already caught the public’s imagination.

“The Nines is an innovative start to the season that is not only creating great excitement in New Zealand but which has generated real interest among Australian fans and teams,” NRL CEO David Smith said.

 “To see a major company like Dick Smith sign up as naming rights partner is a real vote of support for the tournament.

 “The Nines format will give players a chance to showcase their attacking skills while keeping touch with the fabric of the game.

 “There are some big things ahead for Rugby League next year and the Nine’s will provide a real springboard for the season.”

Duco Events managing director Mr David Higgins said, “We share a vision with the NRL, ATEED and Dick Smith to establish the NRL Auckland Nines as one of the premier annual events in Australia and New Zealand.

“Dick Smith is a strategic partner who shares our vision for this exciting new venture for rugby league and the New Zealand community.

“Dick Smith has a strong focus on engaging its community and customers through unique marketing opportunities, which is why we believe they’re the perfect fit for this partnership.

“Dick Smith is committed to selling premium products at competitive prices and that’s a nice alignment with us because that’s exactly what we are offering sports fans at the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.”

CEO of Dick Smith, Australia and New Zealand, Mr Nick Abboud said, “Dick Smith is proud to be the inaugural naming rights sponsor for the NRL Auckland Nines competition. As one of New Zealand’s longest serving consumer electronics retailers we’re passionate about investing in the New Zealand community. We see this as a perfect opportunity to re-energise our relationship with the community, especially here in Auckland where the support of our business is so strong.

“We believe this exciting new tournament will be New Zealand's biggest summer event attracting many of the star players from the NRL, who will not only play at Eden Park, but also meet our customers through events at Dick Smith stores throughout Auckland.

“Many of us at Dick Smith are huge rugby league fans and are confident our customers and the community will get behind the NRL Auckland Nines and support it,” said Mr Abboud.

Dick Smith is the second major sponsor to sign on to the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines alongside Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) which will invest NZ$ 9 million over five years.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown welcomed the addition of Dick Smith into the Nines mix,

“Auckland is delighted to welcome Dick Smith, a household name on both sides of the Tasman, as a committed supporter of the nines concept,” Len Brown said.

“Auckland already has a global reputation for hosting world-class major events, and the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines is another very big feather in our cap. Events like this bring the excitement and revenue injection which are crucial to the region’s liveability and economic aspirations.”

The draw for the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines see the NRL’s 16 teams placed into four pools of four teams. The match-ups – featuring some of the biggest names in rugby league – will ensure the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines dominate sport headlines leading up to the February 15th and 16th extravaganza at Eden Park.

“As our nation’s most iconic stadium Eden Park looks forward to delivering a world class entertainment experience both on and off the pitch,” said the CEO of Eden Park Trust David Kennedy.

“We are excited to host the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines and establish a legacy event for the city in conjunction with our partners ATEED, NRL, Dick Smith and Duco Events.”

The Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines has been bolstered recently by public backing from some of the biggest names in rugby league.

As well as heavyweight support from the likes of State of Origin coaches Mal Meninga and Laurie Daley and arguably the game’s greatest coach, Newcastle Knights mentor Wayne Bennett a number of NRL stars including Sam Thaiday, Willie Mason, Anthony Watmough, Greg Bird, Robbie Farah, Paul Gallen and Todd Carney are all on record as saying they can’t wait to play in the tournament.

Adding to the quality of the teams at the tournament is an agreement by each of the NRL’s 16 clubs which guarantees at least one top five player from each club’s salary cap will play in Auckland alongside at least 12 of each club’s top 25 salary capped players.

They will compete for a New Zealand record $2.6 million in prize money and, of course, the chance to win the inaugural Dick Smith Auckland Nines Tournament title.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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