Samsung and Vodafone today announced a joint sponsorship of The Big Game 2, a rugby union match between Harlequins and Wasps, at Twickenham Stadium on 27 December.
The sponsorship is designed to support the launch of the Vodafone 360 SamsungH1 handset, the first to deliver Vodafone’s new set of social networking and entertainment internet services for mobile and PC.
Mark Mitchinson, vice president of Samsung Mobile UK and Ireland, told Mobile: ‘It’s not a branding exercise that’s why we turned down the shirt sponsorship opportunity. We already sponsor Chelsea FC, but rugby attracts a different,wealthier demographic, so this is about activating interest in smartphones among those people.’
Mitchinson explained that the joint sponsors have clear plans to showcase their products at the game. ‘We want every family that turns up to get a warm feeling about us. We may offer a discount for people who have been at the game if they go to a Vodafone store later.’
He added that Samsung saw sponsorship of The Big Game this year as the forerunner of much bigger things to come.
The Big Game was first put on by Harlequins last year, but this year it has attracted sponsorship from Samsung and Vodafone. Mark Evans, CEO of Harlequins, said that 50,000 tickets had already been sold and he is hoping that all 80,000 will eventually be taken.
The game will feature a range of other pre- and half-time entertainment, including performances by X-Factor singers Jamie Archer and Lucie Jones, as well as one of the three X-Factor finalists.
Harlequins is also promoting its partner charity HopeHIV, which supports African children orphaned by Aids, by selling a charity rugby shirt manufactured by KooGa. The aim is to raise around £75,000 by donating £15 from every shirt sold.