National Rugby League Marketing Exec Paul Kind Says Nines Tournament 'Here To Stay'
National Rugby League Dir of Marketing & Commercial Paul Kind said that the "Nines tournament is here to stay" as part of a restructured preseason program that will "herald the return of the Indigenous All Stars clash" in '15, according to Peter Badel of the COURIER MAIL. The "birth of the nine-a-side event, to be held in Auckland next year" on Feb. 15-16, raised "fears the All Stars concept could be killed off completely." Kind, however, made it "clear the All Stars will be back on the agenda under the NRL’s plan to implement a fixed February schedule that will begin with the Nines extravaganza." NRL Nines organizers Duco Events announced a "five-year naming-rights deal" with Australian retailer Dick Smith on Wednesday, indicating the "tournament will be a long-term fixture on the code’s calendar." The event will "feature 31 games, including 24 pool matches, with more than 40,000 tickets for the gala two-day format already sold" (COURIER MAIL, 10/31).