The Toronto Wolfpack believe their investment in Sonny Bill Williams will set them up for years to come.
Williams agreed to a two-year deal reported to be worth $10 million with the English Super League franchise, joining the team for their 2020 and 2021 campaigns.
It’s a sizeable paycheck for the former All Blacks midfielder, but one the Wolfpack’s commercial vice president Jon Pallett said was worth writing.
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Speaking to the Radio Sport Breakfast, Pallett said the franchise believes they will be reaping the benefits of Williams’ signing long after his two-year contract has expired.
“There’s very few sport stars on the planet that transcend their sport. In our sport, Sonny Bill Williams has been and is that player.We’re not going to get the accountants doing the maths on the calculators, but certainly we think there is a commercial value to having a player like this,” Pallett said.
“There’s certainly a huge value to us in terms of our fan base, and the community work that we do, and obviously the sponsorships and ticket sales that go with it. We know that bringing in a player like this plays a big part in growing our brand in not only Toronto but globally and hopefully has a legacy thereafter.”
Pallett was hopeful Williams’ signing would put league on the map in the competitive Toronto sport market in the same way David Beckham’s signing with Major league Soccer’s LA Galaxy did for the competition.
“We do know there is a big value off the field for acquiring a player of this nature, especially in this market; it’s sports mad,” Pallett said
“The NBA champions are here, the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most famous hockey teams out there…we are in a competitive space, but the fans are responsive. They do love a superstar and this city has had a history of bringing in superstars who have done well and grown whatever sport it was that they’re playing. There’s a big value to having a big name player like this and we’re seeing that today with the media reaction we’ve had.”
The move signals Williams’ return to league after five years of playing the 15-man code. It will be his third stint in league, after beginning his career with a five-year tenure in a Canterbury Bulldogs jersey before playing for the Sydney Roosters in 2013 and 2014. He was expected to join the Wolfpack after Christmas for their preseason campaign.
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