Huawei has been forced to end its decade-long major sponsorship of the Canberra Raiders rugby league team after the company’s revenue took a major hit in 2020 on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, its 5G ban in Australia and US trade black ban.
Huawei says the sponsorship was being terminated after continued negative business environment was having a larger-than-expected impact on the company’s planned revenue stream.
The sponsorship of the Canberra Raiders was Huawei’s first ever major sporting sponsorship in the world.
“We are very proud of our major sponsorship of the Raiders and the fact that it lasted for almost ten years shows how successful the partnership has been,” says Jeremy Mitchell, chief corporate affairs officer, Huawei Australia.
“Ricky Stuart often talks about the importance of the Raiders jersey, what it represents and stands for, Huawei understood that and felt very privileged that our name was part of the Clubs history and part of the Raiders story.
“It is so disappointing that it has ended this way but are very proud of the small role we have played in this great NRL club.
“Our near decade as major sponsor of the Raiders has been one of the most successful in Australian sport and we are very sad that it has come to an end.
“Even after the Turnbull government banned us from 5G we managed to find the resources to continue the sponsorship but we just can’t financially support it any longer.
“We have stuck with the Raiders through the very tough times and they have stuck with us too during our recent tough times, we have formed friendships and memories that will endure forever.”
But the company won’t be lost to the NRL club with Huawei agreeing to relocate its logo on the back of the Raiders jersey.
Huawei will also retain naming rights to the new Huawei Raiders Training Centre in Canberra.
“The Canberra Raiders and Huawei have enjoyed a fantastic partnership for nearly a decade – they have been by far our longest serving major sponsor,” said Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner.
“Huawei’s commitment to the Raiders has been unwavering and we have worked together to achieve so much for the Raiders family, Rugby League itself and the broader community with our charity work.
“This relationship has been about so much more than just a logo on a jersey, we have worked with Huawei on a number of very important community initiatives and fundraising opportunities for very worthwhile causes.
Ricky Stuart, Canberra Raiders head coach said: “While some people talk about having strong partnerships, they don’t mean very much until you go through bad times together and back each other up.
“We at the Raiders supported Huawei Australia through a difficult period and Huawei supported us through a very difficult time as well.
“Huawei and the Raiders went well beyond simply being a commercial arrangement, we forged a very strong relationship that became very personal and it is one which we will always be grateful for.”