The surprisingly good form of Penrith Panthers in the National Rugby League (NRL) this year has earned the club a two-year extension and improved terms to its major sponsorship deal with electronics manufacturer, Sanyo.
The contract was due to run out at the end of the year but will now continue until 2005. The value has not been disclosed.
The Western Sydney-based outfit has leapt to second place on the ladder with only a few weeks left in the regular season, tearing down the reputations of more fashionable teams such as the Roosters and Bulldogs along the way.
The Panthers now look certain to play a part in the end-of-season playoffs.
A recent home game with the Bulldogs saw a record crowd of 22,147 packed into Penrith Stadium.
“It’s fantastic at the moment and the feeling around the place is incredible,” Sanyo Australia general manager, Bill Crichton, said.
“We have always supported the Panthers in hard times but now they are building for the future and we like the planning of the new management team.
“The NRL is a national competition and gives us media branding exposure worth millions of dollars as well as a presence in the local community.”
Sanyo does not have all its eggs in one basket. It also sponsors the Canterbury Crusaders, which has won Rugby Union’s Super 12s tournament for two of the past three years.