Australian Super Rugby team the Melbourne Rebels has agreed a major sponsorship deal with Legacy Property and Investment Group.
The two-year deal covers the 2018 and 2019 seasons and also incorporates the Rugby Victoria state governing body.
The deal, which the team claims is unique for rugby and the biggest of its kind in Australian sport, will deliver a range of community initiatives designed to promote inclusion and combat social inequity, violence and injustice.
As part of the agreement, the #NoToViolence hashtag will be emblazoned on the back of the Rebels’ shirts during matches.
Legacy Property and Investment Group will provide financial support through the Legacy Elite Rugby Academy, along with funding for Rugby Victoria’s Quilt Program, a revolutionary initiative that supports a zero-tolerance approach to domestic violence against women.
The deal also includes a contribution to the development of the State Centre for Rugby at Bundoora in partnership with La Trobe University, which will include purpose-built facilities for the delivery of Pacific Islander inclusion, social connection and education programs.
The partnership will also support the ongoing growth of existing pathway programs in schools to align with the Legacy Academy and Quilt Program.
Rebels chief executive Baden Stephenson said: “This is a ground breaking and historic partnership that reflects our unshakeable commitment to resource, support and engage the Pacific Island and broader community.
“It is a first for rugby that will influence and drive significant outcomes in the community, elite pathways and high performance.”
Jimaima Le Grand, Legacy Property and Investment Group’s chief operating officer, added: “We are very excited to join forces with the Melbourne Rebels in a partnership that will extend well beyond traditional sponsorship benefits and models.
“The Melbourne Rebels and – in particular, their players of Pacific Island heritage – are role models for young people in the Pacific Island community, many of whom look to these individuals for the courage and inspiration to reach their aspirations both on and off the field.
“We look forward to working with Melbourne Rebels, Rugby Victoria and the Academy to break down barriers for those of both Pacific Islands and non-Pacific Island backgrounds, and to inspire them to pursue their dreams of careers in sport.”