Another milestone for the Fiji Rugby Union as part of the current reforms being undertaken at Rugby House. Last Friday (3/2/2017), the FRU CEO, Mr. John. M. O’Connor signed a Merchandising and Licensing Agreement with Velocity Brand Management (VBM).
VBM is a globally renowned multi-faceted licensing and merchandising business specialising in the licensing of major and other retail outlets globally to manufacture and provide such merchandizing for sale. The FRU CEO, Mr John O’Connor highlighted that partnering with VBM is a great opportunity for the FRU. This is the first time that FRU has engaged a specialist firm to manage this portfolio for FRU. Currently FRU only have merchandizing in kits and clothing and are only available from our local market.
The CEO FRU highlighted that VBM will now on behalf of FRU negotiate the licensing of major and other retail outlets globally to manufacture all ranges of FRU merchandize and provide such merchandizing for sale from their outlets or their franchise.
FRU Chairman Commander Francis Kean with VBM Managing Director James Ashworth and FRU CEO John O’Connor
Mr. O’Connor highlighted that for too long unscrupulous businesses and individuals have taken advantage of the FRU brand without proper licensing and paying any royalty to FRU.
“Partnering with VBM will set a framework to ensure that the FRU will be able to license businesses which can then sell all types of FRU merchandise including Team Kits. VBM will also assist FRU in managing its Kit and Footwear sponsors.”
VBM Managing Director James Ashworth added that VBM are very fortunate to partner with the FRU who join a dynamic group of licensing partners which VBM represents including the All Blacks, National Rugby League, Rugby World Cup 2007 & 2011, The British & Irish Lions, Football Federation Australia, Cricket Australia, England and Wales Cricket Board, The International Cricket Council and The Cricket World Cup 2007, 2011 2015, Tennis Australia and the Australian Open.
Mr Ashworth added that VBM is excited about partnering with the FRU in terms it’s licensing and merchandising and he firmly believes that there is a great opportunity for the FRU to increase its income through licensing and merchandising in view of the success of the Fiji 7s and Flying Fijian teams.
VBM is also looking at signing licensing and merchandizing partners to manufacture and sell FRU merchandizes in the UK, NZ, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, France, Canada, USA and domestically. He highlighted that there is huge potential in these markets because apart from the huge Fijian Communities that have made these countries home, almost every global rugby supporter loves the Fiji Rugby Teams and is their next preferred Team, the first being their own national teams. Ashworth is confident that in the next two years the FRU will realize new revenue streams through the new licensing and merchandizing partnership that VBM will negotiate and manage for FRU.
Ashworth is expected to be in Fiji in the near future to review local agreements and look at opportunities of expanding the FRU’s merchandising and licensing and to provide more options to the people of Fiji.