Naming rights sponsorship to the St George Illawarra Dragons is on the market for the first time since the joint merger formed in 1999.
The Dragons inaugural naming rights sponsor, Integral Energy, has decided to move away from the major sponsorship property after this season, however they have agreed to a new sponsorship arrangement for season 2004 and beyond, focusing on community-based activities.
Dragons CEO Peter Doust said the club was delighted to retain Integral Energy as one of their key sponsors.
�We�ve enjoyed a very productive relationship with Integral Energy, particularly since the creation of the joint venture. We look forward to working with them to continue to improve our development programs within local communities,� he said.
Dragons General Manager Marketing Michael McDonald said the club had begun talks with two national organisations as possible major sponsors in 2004.
�At this stage the negotiations are of a preliminary nature,� McDonald said. �The Dragons are a unique brand in sports marketing. We�re the most supported NRL team in NSW and an icon brand within the national sporting landscape.
�We believe this premium sponsorship opportunity will be one of the most valuable available to the corporate market for 2004 and we expect strong interest in this unique property.�
Integral Energy will move into a new sponsorship category with the Dragons becoming their Illawarra Community Partner.
�Based on our long standing association with the club � and taking into account changes to our overall sponsorship approach � Integral Energy will be moving to a new category level of sponsorship � becoming an 'Illawarra Community Partner',� Integral Energy CEO Richard Powis said.
�Under the corporation�s overall revised sponsorship strategy, we want our sponsorship support to become more closely aligned to community activities, incorporating the development of the skills, attitudes and performance of youth.
�Our announcement reflects our desire to continue our relationship with St George Illawarra, building on our previous investment in the club while also focusing on the important task of fostering the sporting talent of kids in the Illawarra.�
Integral Energy is working with the club in developing plans for the Integral Energy Dragons Development Program for 2004, which will work extensively with schools and youth.