Delta partners Highlanders for 2012

Dunedin City Council-owned infrastructure specialist Delta Utility Services has expanded its rugby sponsorship, taking on the Highlanders rugby team for 2012.

The company will be "executive partner" of the Highlanders, with the sponsorship including the Delta logo on the back of the team playing shorts, where it has been from the start of the season.

There would also be promotion and advertising at home games, and opportunities for joint Delta and Highlanders involvement in community projects, chief executive Grady Cameron said.

Delta has a corporate suite at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, has had jersey sponsorship of the Otago rugby team, and has sponsored Otago junior rugby.

A spokesman said the company was in discussions with the ORFU for the future of that sponsorship, following the union's near liquidation.

Mr Cameron said Super 15 rugby was watched by millions.

Dunedin home games were played at Forsyth Barr Stadium, where Delta installed the playing surface, electricity system and water infrastructure.

"We share the Highlanders' values of accountability, hard work and respect."

Delta's rugby sponsorship and corporate box has prompted controversy, with some claiming it is a way to funnel money from the council to rugby and the stadium.

Asked his opinion yesterday, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull said it was a commercial decision for Delta.

"The council has had no input into that. It is better for them to be sponsoring the Highlanders, rather than the Crusaders."


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