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Eden Park signs ‘world first’ naming-rights deal with ASB

Eden Park hosts the Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the Blues and the Hurricanes on June 14, 2020 (by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Eden Park, New Zealand’s national stadium, has signed the first naming-rights deal in its 117-year history, albeit on a temporary basis.

In what is claimed to be a world first, ASB Bank has secured weeklong naming rights to the Auckland venue for the upcoming Bledisloe Cup rugby union series between New Zealand and Australia, and will gift the opportunity to a local business.

While Eden Park has hitherto resisted entering into any agreement to rename the venue, the stadium’s chief executive Nick Sautner believes the time is right to do so amid the Covid-19 business environment.

Sautner said: “Like most New Zealand businesses, Eden Park has been challenged to find ways to embrace the new normal to ensure we can continue to operate, innovate, and give back to the community. ASB is a valued and longstanding partner of the Park, so creating a unique opportunity together to support a small Kiwi business is a natural fit for us.

“The Eden Park name is a globally renowned sporting icon which means this opportunity is unlikely to happen ever again.”

The new temporary naming-rights partner for Eden Park will be revealed early next week. ASB’s executive general manager of business banking, Tim Deane, said the company intends to use the rights as a means to give a boost to a smaller Kiwi firm.

Deane added: “Supporting SMEs has been a priority for us throughout 2020. They are the backbone of our economy and many are hard hit by the economic impacts of Covid-19. We know Eden Park has a special place in the hearts of many Kiwis and it will always be Eden Park, but this will be an incredibly special opportunity for one small business, and we couldn’t be prouder to be able to use ASB’s naming rights in this way.”

Today’s (Tuesday’s) announcement came after the news yesterday that crowds will return to Eden Park with confirmation that the stadium will hold the second Bledisloe Cup match on October 18.

The New Zealand Government said Auckland will move to Alert Level 1 from Wednesday, which will allow fans at the Test. This will bring the city in line with the rest of the country, allowing Eden Park to host the game with no restrictions on crowd size.

Otago Regional Stadium in Dunedin had been put on standby for the match if the restrictions were not lifted. Wellington Regional Stadium will stage the first game on Sunday, with almost 28,000 tickets having already been sold for the 34,500-capacity venue.