The Wellington Lions will be proudly pulling on a new rugby jersey this season emblazoned with the Stonewood Homes logo as part of a three-year sponsorship agreement.
Stonewood Homes co-owner Michael Chow was happy to join in a mock front row with Wellington Lions forwards Brad Shields and Reggie Goodes this week to celebrate what Stonewood regards as a landmark sponsorship deal for the company.
Upon taking ownership of the assets of the ailing company in March, Michael together with brother John Chow and Inno Capital business partner Clint Webber, declared they’d transform Stonewood from the country’s number three group home builder to number one within three years.
They view the Lions sponsorship as one of a range of high profile marketing initiatives that will progressively be rolled out during 2016.
The Wellington Lions, a high profile team that also includes All Blacks Ardie Savea and Dane Coles, are a natural fit for Stonewood, Inno and the Chow brothers, who have a strong property presence in the Capital through their nationwide CGML group.
“This is our home team – so this is a very, very proud moment. Our family emigrated from Hong Kong to Wellington when I was 8 and John was 13. We built our business from here running our parents food takeaway shop on Courtenay Place, Wellington and saving hard for a deposit to buy our first commercial property in our early 20s.”
Traditionally the Lions are one of the most viewed teams during the provincial rugby season. They roar into action with Mitre 10 Cup on August 20 playing Hawke’s Bay in the opening round.
The team will also attract a lot of attention playing both away and in home Westpac Stadium games against rivals like Taranaki, Waikato, North Harbour, Bay of Plenty and Southland.
The sponsorship deal will ensure the Stonewood Homes name continues to attract strong recognition around the country as the home builder works to speed up building systems and processes at a time of a house shortage within New Zealand.
The deal comes just after the 100 days anniversary of Stonewood’s new ownership, a period of real achievement for the company’s network of franchises extending from Whangarei to Invercargill and includes the busy main centres.
As a family the Chows appreciate the atmosphere a sporting team like the Lions can bring both for individuals within the rugby franchise but also to the Wellington province as a whole.
The Lions’ team atmosphere, like that at Stonewood, provides a strong foundation for achievements in the season and year ahead, Michael Chow predicts.
“The sponsorship is a perfect fit, being a local brand to some of our Wellington projects. It’s something we will keep working on to ensure both partners enjoy a close working relationship,” Michael Chow says.
He had enjoyed talking to the Wellington Rugby Union’s chief executive Steve Rogers and chief operating officer Matt Evans while helping forge the partnership.
The Wellington Lions sponsorship also fitted in well with the CGML group’s Exodus Health & Fitness Club property, based in Tory Street in the Capital. “Through Exodus Health & Fitness we are responsible for a lot of events and sponsorship associations with teams like Wellington Phoenix soccer, the Saints basketball and Team Wellington football,” Michael Chow says.
Wellington Rugby chief executive Steve Rogers says the agreement has been a natural fit from the start.
“We are thrilled to be associated with Stonewood Homes, a company that mirrors the Lions’ goal to be number one, and whose owner Michael and John Chow share our passion for the Wellington region.
“Like Stonewood as a company, the Lions are a young team full of ambition and determined to grow toward their potential during the next three years. We believe that together we are stronger and we look forward to what promises to be a close working relationship over the coming seasons,” Rogers says.
John Chow says being the principal sponsor with the Wellington Lions is an honour and fits in with the Chow group’s emphasis on building relationships as part of a growth strategy CGML is working towards managing a $1 billion property portfolio by 2020.