However, the charity isn’t paying a penny for the privilege, and instead is benefiting from the generosity of MeccaBingo.com, the club’s current sponsor, which has donated the shirt sponsorship to Whizz-Kidz – Mecca Bingo’s official charity partner.
As part of the ongoing ‘Mecca Wheel Difference’ campaign, Mecca clubs across the UK raised over £286,000 in 2008.
Whizz-Kidz is also the first charity to become the main shirts sponsor of a Super League club. In addition to the publicity gained from the sponsorship, the shirts will be auctioned after the match and will be snapped up by die hard fans as extremely rare and limited edition items. There will only be 40 shirts produced meaning that demand for the shirts will be incredibly high.
The shirts will be auctioned off via the club website, eBay and other fundraising channels, details of which will be announced over the coming days.
Under French advertising legislation gaming brands such as MeccaBingo.com are prohibited from advertising. The decision was taken not to resell the shirt sponsorship for the match and instead donate the opportunity to a charity.
Matt Cook, Sponsorship Manager for MeccaBingo.com, said, "Whizz-Kidz is a great organisation and, when the opportunity arose, we jumped at the chance to help our charity partner. The charity is all about giving disabled children the chance to lead a more independent life through equipment such as powered wheelchairs, training, and work placements. Hopefully the sponsorship will aid the organisation’s fundraising."
Ruth Owen, Chief Executive of Whizz-Kidz, said, "This is a very exciting first for us, and we are proud to be supporting the Wigan Warriors thanks to the generosity of Mecca Bingo.
"Sport is something that disabled and non-disabled young people alike can enjoy and take part in. As well inspiring an active childhood, the ‘sponsorship’ will raise awareness and vital funds for our work promoting the independence and inclusion of disabled young people.”
Mick Hogan, Chief Executive of Wigan Warriors, said, "We are delighted that we can promote the Whizz-Kidz charity on our shirts for Monday’s game at Catalans Dragons. The charity does some wonderful work and the Whizz-Kidz name will be seen by a big television audience as the game is being shown live on Sky Sports. It is a great idea and money will also be raised by the auctioning of these one off shirts."
Wigan Warriors, 12th April 2009