New Zealand Rugby have signed their first ever shirt sponsorship which will logo global insurance company American International Group (AIG) appearing on the front of the All Black shirt.
The new five and a half year sponsorship agreement deal means that France are the only major rugby playing nation without a sponsor's logo on the front of their shirt.
Under the sponsorship arrangement, AIG will be the Major Global Sponsor of the New Zealand Rugby Union and Official Insurance Partner of the All Blacks. The company will directly sponsor the All Blacks, the All Blacks Sevens, the Maori All Blacks, the New Zealand Black Ferns, the New Zealand Women's Sevens and New Zealand Under 20 teams.
"New Zealand rugby was already benefitting from the most valuable sponsorship in the rugby world through its partnership with adidas," said NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew.
"To the best of our knowledge, the partnership with AIG is the second most valuable rugby sponsorship.
"We sincerely thank adidas for helping to ensure we were able to develop this valuable new partnership. adidas remains the Principal Partner of the NZRU whose support has underpinned rugby in this country since 1999 and will continue to at least 2019.
"AIG's support provides significant additional financial security for the NZRU. The partnership will help ensure rugby continues to flourish at the community level upwards so that we can keep producing winning teams, run the most exciting competitions in the world and keep turning out, and retaining, the world's best players and coaches.
AIG will be the jersey sponsor for all six national teams beginning with the All Blacks Sevens tomorrow at the Sevens World Series tournament on the Gold Coast in Australia and for the All Blacks when they take on Australia in Brisbane on 20 October.
"We are adding the AIG logo to the black jersey, in addition to that of adidas which has appeared since 1999," said Tew.
"However, this is not a decision we have taken lightly. Like all New Zealanders we greatly respect the rich and proud heritage of the black jersey, which is why NZRU consulted with senior players and others as we carefully weighed up this latest move.
"On balance it is a very positive opportunity to secure the additional funds that we need to help safeguard the future of the game in this country."
The AIG logo on the All Blacks jersey is just under one third the size of the maximum allowed under International Rugby Board guidelines in consideration of the historical significance of that jersey.