The NSW VB Blues could soon join Manchester United, Real Madrid and the New York Yankees as one of the most recognisable and wealthy sporting brands in the world after bringing on board the greatest fan club in rugby league in Blatchys Blues. Rugby league’s showpiece – State of Origin is already broadcast live throughout Australia and to 90 countries and territories worldwide. Now through the purchase of Dan Blatch’s unique blue wig-wearing fan club Blatchys Blues, the NSW VB Blues is one powerful united family set to embark upon an exciting membership programme to allow rugby league lovers worldwide to join Laurie Daley’s team.
Manchester United’s value was put at $750 million in 2014. The Penrith Panthers and Collingwood sit around the $40 million mark according to brand experts and New South Wales Rugby League chief executive David Trodden says as the sleeping giants of world sport the NSW VB Blues now have the perfect membership vehicle in Blatchys Blues to build a wealthy franchise to rival them all.
“Everyone knows the NSW VB Blues and through Blatchys Blues people throughout the world will be able to join our team,” said Trodden. “Blatchys Blues have captured the imagination of the New South Wales public. Sports lovers throughout the world have seen Blatchys Blues fill our stadiums at State of Origin matches. However now it won’t just be Sydneysiders or our wonderful supporters from throughout the State of New South Wales who can become members of Blatchys Blues but also those who love rugby league in Europe, Asia, the US, Pacific or Middle East. And everyone in the game will be a winner from grassroots through to our State of Origin stars.”
Blatchys Blues was founded by Sydney financial planner and long-time NSW VB Blues fan Dan Blatch back in 1999. Since then with the help of business partner Daniel Zammit they have grown Blatchys Blues into one of the most recognisable sporting fan clubs in the world. So much so that in 2012 the Blatchys Blues claimed a place in the Guinness World Record for the most people wearing wigs in a single venue when 12,083 fans donned their blue wigs for at the second State of Origin match at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
“I’ve loved the NSW VB Blues all my life,” said Dan Blatch. “We wore lots of blue colour to the game on my 18th birthday back in 1999 to show our support and it’s fantastic to see the way it’s grown. To see that sea of blue at State of Origin matches is amazing and the way the players have embraced the fans makes it an unbelievable experience for supporters. The 2014 victory lap at ANZ Stadium when the players dived into Blatchys is something I'll never forget."
NSW VB Blues coach Laurie Daley was in the Blues side that beat Queensland 12-8 at that match in Sydney when Blatchys Blues was born. He joined captain Paul Gallen and his players in celebrating with Blatchys Blues fans after they won game two at ANZ Stadium this year to take the series. “The atmosphere provided by Blatchys Blues supporters is just amazing,” said Daley. “Queensland fans like to think they have a mortgage on passion but Blatchys have shown them they don’t have anything like the support enjoyed by the NSW VB Blues. It’s wonderful to think that fans from throughout our State as well as those now living overseas or people who just see State of Origin and love it will be able to join Blatchys Blues.”
NSWRL chairman Dr George Peponis and his board see the acquisition of Blatchys Blues as a great way of uniting all Blues supporters and the next move in their strategic plan to grow the NSW VB Blues brand. “We’ve always wanted the Blatchys and the NSW VB Blues to be one and the same,” said Dr Peponis. “Now our fans know by joining Blatchys they’re part of the family and as well as supporting the NSW VB Blues they will be assisting with our plans to grow rugby league in New South Wales.”
For Dan Blatch and Daniel Zammit becoming part of the NSW VB Blues family was the logical step. Blatchys Blues is growing at such a rate that they wanted to see their fan club get all the support it needs.
“It’s great to see our dream and vision get the proper backing it deserves,” said Zammit who himself has worked throughout Europe with a number of prominent sporting organisations. “We’re excited to be working with David Trodden and the team at the NSWRL to ensure Blatchys Blues continue to grow and take the NSW VB Blues to great heights. Blues fans are the best in Origin and there are a lot of exciting plans underway to help them love their team and get an even bigger experience of Origin. Blues fans deserve world-class experiences.”
Article initially published on www.nrl.com on 23 October 2014