Dream come true … Jessica Mauboy replaces Bon Jovi for the NRL. Photo: Edwina Pickles
REVELATIONS on Thursday of widespread use of illicit drugs in Australian sport forced the NRL to postpone its announcement for this year's advertising campaign.
The NRL will on Saturday confirm Jessica Mauboy as the face of the game's promotions, replacing Bon Jovi and the This Is Our House campaign after two years.
The NRL had an arrangement to continue using the rock stars for another season, but instead opted for the singer and actress, a North Queensland and Maroons fan.
NRL general manager of marketing and commercial Paul Kind believes the association with the former Australian Idol contestant will open new doors for the game as it looks to reap the benefits of a billion-dollar broadcast rights deal.
''As a consequence of the new broadcast partnerships, the NRL has access to significantly more media advertising than the game has had before and this provides an opportunity to promote a wide range of key areas,'' Kind said.
''In order to promote our community programs, our junior registrations as well as build excitement for premiership, Origin and international rugby league we needed to take our marketing approach in a new direction and the partnership with Sony and Jessica will allow us to achieve that.
''We have a responsibility in 2013 to retain all of our existing fans, but just as importantly, with the increased advertising investment, attract new fans to the game and build awareness for the incredible work our players, clubs and state leagues do in the community.''
Mauboy is the first woman to lead rugby league's advertising campaign since Tina Turner in the early 1990s.
The deal was struck in conjunction with Sony Music Entertainment and appeals to a different market than the Bon Jovi campaign.
''To have an association with the country's leading music company and Australia's leading female artist is a great coup for rugby league,'' Kind said. ''Jessica is without question the hottest artist in the country at the moment.''
Mauboy will sing the national anthem at the NRL All Stars match at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
The 23-year-old's rugby league anthem will be released later this month. ''Performing two years ago at the NRL grand final was a career highlight; so to be chosen to be part of the advertising campaign for the season is incredibly special,'' she said. ''I find the spirit of the players and the NRL to be inspiring and I am really proud to be part of Sony's association with the game.''