As part of the new Pink Batts partnership with the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and New Zealand referees, they commissioned research company Perceptive to canvas the opinions of more than 500 Kiwi kids to explore how they rank being a referee compared to other career choices and, most importantly, why.
Pink Batts national market manager Dion Hurinui says in order to support the recruitment of tomorrow’s referees it is important to get a snapshot of current perceptions.
“These research findings have highlighted some significant opportunities, which we are really excited about,” Mr Hurinui says.
41% of primary school children surveyed ranked fireman, policeman, army, navy or air force in their top three career choices. Rugby referees were ranked as the least attractive career on the list.
When asked why rugby referee was not one of their top three choices, 31% said “don’t know much about what they do,” and 24% said that being a rugby referee “doesn’t sound or look like much fun”.
“We are very passionate about our new relationship with New Zealand’s rugby referees, and we are keen to play our part to highlight the positive aspects of being a referee and their contribution to the game,” Mr Hurinui says.
“We might even get these children to change their minds about refereeing.”
New sponsorship deal
The new sponsorship deal sees Pink Batts sponsoring referees across the Investec Super Rugby, ITM Cup and Pink Batts Heartland Championship for three years.
The pink uniforms are being extended to referees in the Women’s Provincial Championship, and Pink Batts also has naming rights to the Pink Batts Heartland Championship.
“Refereeing is actually a great way to be involved in the game,” New Zealand’s top referee Chris Pollock says.
“We work hard and train hard because it’s a fast game, and we have to keep up! I get the best seat in the house, and we get amazing opportunities to travel and see the best teams in the world playing the game.
“This is a fun job with some great experiences, so if I can do my bit to encourage others to pick up a whistle then count me in,” Mr Pollock says.