- Red Bull announced as naming rights sponsor for Ignite7
- Trusts Arena in Waitakere signs on as official venue
- More than 500 athletes registered, 119 from outside rugby
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has teamed up with Red Bull to ignite the search for our future Sevens superstars.
Red Bull has been announced as the key partner and naming rights sponsor for Ignite7, a ground-breaking Sevens talent identification programme which has attracted more than 500 registrations since the concept was launched in July.
The partnership and sponsorship agreement will be in place for the next three years in what represents the first major step into the New Zealand rugby market for the global brand.
NZR Head of Marketing, Brand and Retail Ventures Todd Barberel said the partnership represented an opportunity for rugby to reach out to new audiences.
“This relationship adds another element of excitement and energy to the Ignite7 concept and Red Bull share our goal of creating meaningful pathways for young athletes to achieve their goals on the world stage.
“Red Bull is known as a high energy youth brand and we believe that aligns well with the dynamic and performance focused elements of Sevens rugby and also with the sport’s increasingly youthful fanbase.”
Red Bull’s involvement in athlete development is well established in New Zealand, with freestyle skier Nico Porteous and surfer Kehu Butler among their sponsored athletes achieving on the world stage. Internationally Red Bull sponsors several international rugby players including USA Sevens star Carlin Isles.
NZR launched Red Bull Ignite7 in July with an open invitation to athletes under 20-years-old to register their interest for a four-day event that will see 48 male and 48 female hopefuls put through their paces at Trusts Arena in Waitakere from 21 to 24 November.
NZR High Performance Sevens Manager Tony Philp said the response to the open registration had been pleasing.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response to the concept with more than 500 valid registrations via www.ignite7.co.nz and Provincial Union nominations. Importantly 119 of those applicants identified themselves as being from outside rugby,” Philp said.
“Our registered athletes have come from backgrounds in athletics, snow sports, water sports, martial arts, and Waka Ama as well as a number of non-rugby team sports, which is exactly the sort of diversity we had hoped to attract.”
Several athletes had already begun a five-week rugby training course designed to upskill them in preparation for Red Bull Ignite7.
Three male and three female athletes will earn a place at the 2019 New Zealand Sevens Development Camp where they will train alongside the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens squads.
Trusts Arena Chief Executive Mark Gosling said the venue was looking forward to hosting the inaugural Red Bull Ignite7.
“The Trusts Arena are proud and delighted to partner with NZR and Red Bull on this fantastic new initiative. We are looking forward to seeing the success of this inaugural event and continuing our relationship with this event for many years to come.”