Brumbies cash in on jersey
Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano model the Brumbies' 2013 playing kit. Photo: Melissa Adams
The ACT Brumbies' on-field resurgence has delivered the richest playing kit in the club's history with $1.8 million of sponsorship unveiled on their new strip on Wednesday.
In a big financial boost less than a year after the Brumbies were searching for a naming rights sponsor on the eve of the season, the two-time Super Rugby champions have declared their lucrative strip an ''historic milestone'' in their rebuilding.
The club plans to celebrate the capital's centenary with a one-off 100th birthday playing jersey for their match against the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium in March.
The Brumbies' 2013 kit pays tribute to Canberra's centenary. Photo: Melissa Adams
A design for the jersey is being finalised and they will be auctioned off after the match against the Brumbies' arch-rivals.
It is expected to feature the centenary colours and have a ''strong alignment'' with the celebrations planned by the ACT Government.
The Brumbies have broken with tradition by removing the ACT Coat of Arms and replacing it with the centenary logo.
But it is the addition of car company Land Rover to the sleeve of the jerseys which has given the Brumbies' financial coffers a boost.
Land Rover's deal is for the next two years and part of the $1.8 million sponsorship which is largely made up of the University of Canberra's contribution with two other shirt and shorts partners.
''The jersey and the shorts as a package are worth as much as we have ever had,'' Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said.
''It's a great thing that it's worth more than it has been in the history of the organisation and reflects the standing we have here in Canberra and the Brumbies brand internationally.''
The Canberra Raiders have also secured one of their most lucrative jersey sponsorships.
A year ago the Brumbies risked starting the Jake White era without a major backer when Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei pulled out of a deal.
But the club linked with the University of Canberra and has secured a deal to move its base to the Bruce campus at the end of the 2013 season.
The university, the Brumbies and the ACT government will build a new $15 million base next year with designs expected to be finalised in the coming months.
White has transformed the team on the field, lifting it to within one game of ending an eight-year finals drought.
Fagan said the Brumbies had a responsibility to ''keep our fans engaged'' with strong results on the field.
And White is confident his developing team can deliver with the experience of last season adding depth for the 2013 campaign.
''Having the most money on our jersey sends a statement to everyone,'' White said.
''We are the younger brother in the community and to get a sponsorship like this and the money and everyone wants to be a part of the Brumbies, you know you're selling the right product.
''I concentrate on the rugby and if the rugby is right, then all these other things fall into place … there's been a massive change and the people in Canberra are loving that the Brumbies are back.''
They will begin the season against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium on February 16. There are only slight changes to the playing kit with the Brumbies to wear white shorts with their alternate strip.