WELLINGTON - The New Zealand Rugby Union is hoping to cash in on the value of the All Blacks brand by renaming two of their other national teams, the organisation said on Friday.
New Zealand Maori and the national men's sevens team would be rebranded and known as the Maori All Blacks and All Blacks Sevens in future, the NZRU said, with a change in their logos on the jersey to also incorporate the All Blacks name.
"This change allows us to create more reasons for international companies to associate with the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby by convincing them that the brand has real global reach," NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said in a statement.
"The All Blacks Sevens and Maori All Blacks can do that by flying the All Blacks flag virtually around the world throughout the year. They are both wonderful ambassadors for our game."
The changes take effect for the next International Rugby Board (IRB) sevens circuit and for the Maori team on their end of year tour in the northern hemisphere.
It is the second time in recent years the NZRU has rebranded a team to attempt to generate greater revenue off the All Blacks brand.
In 2006 they rebranded the second-tier New Zealand A team as the Junior All Blacks, which created criticism as the Junior All Blacks had traditionally been an under-23 team.
Tew said the NZRU needed to generate NZ$100 million ($75.06 million) a year to sustain the game in the rugby-mad country and the reach the sevens team had on their circuit allowed them to explore opportunities in non-traditional markets.
"From Las Vegas to Dubai, the sevens team plays in more places, more often than the All Blacks," Tew said.
"The next season extends from October to May and will be longer in coming years as more tournaments are added.
"As well, the Olympics provides a fantastic new opportunity on the biggest sporting stage in the world.
"There is no greater place to showcase to the world the All Blacks style of rugby."