Uranium development company inks 'unique' sponsorship deal with Roughriders
Posted on May 29, 2019 by Brad McCabe

An exploration company developing a uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan gave its public profile a boost by inking a major sponsorship deal with the Saskatchewan Roughriders that will see its name displayed on the team’s uniforms.

NexGen Energy Ltd. and the Canadian Football League team announced the sponsorship on Tuesday, two months after the Vancouver-based company joined forces with one of the province’s most notable football fans — former Premier Brad Wall.

Neither the team nor the company are saying how much the three-year agreement is worth, but it’s among the top five most lucrative for the football club, which last year brought in $6.5 million — 17 per cent of its revenue — from around 50 corporate sponsors.

Speaking with reporters at the company’s new Saskatoon office, NexGen CEO Leigh Curyer and Roughriders president and CEO Craig Reynolds acknowledged that it’s unusual for a junior mining company to take on such a visible sponsorship.

The Roughriders have sponsorship agreements with two other mining companies: Mosaic Co., which operates three potash mines in the province, and Cameco Corp., which mines and mills uranium at multiple sites across the Athabasca Basin.

While both of those corporations measure revenues in the billions of dollars, NexGen has yet to build a mine. It is still in the development phase, meaning its aim is to build the case for an economical operation at its Arrow deposit 600 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

“It’s not common. I haven’t seen it (at) our company’s stage of development. Normally, it’s reserved for producing companies, but I think that speaks to the objective of NexGen, the scale of the opportunity. We’re going to be here for many decades,” Curyer said.

“This is a little bit unique, and that’s why it’s exciting,” said Reynolds, adding that he hopes the agreement — the team refers to its sponsors as “partners” — can help both contribute to communities in the province’s north, where NexGen operates.

It is unusual for pre-production companies to take such an active role in the community, but NexGen operates like a corporate citizen that has been mining uranium in the province for 20 years, Wall said Tuesday in an interview.

“I think the long view is very important,” he said.

The company already runs a daily breakfast program for students in La Loche, Sask. and a dog fostering program at its exploration camp. Both organizations are planning an event that will see members of the team travel to La Loche.

While details have yet to be hammered out, Reynolds told reporters the team plans to work with NexGen and the northern community to figure out what works best — and then make it happen.

The industry term for it is “brand alignment.”

Curyer said it’s not clear if having NexGen’s logo displayed on the front of every Roughriders jersey will attract additional investment to the publicly-traded company. He repeatedly emphasized benefits to the community.

“These guys are more than just elite footballers … We’re partnered with them on a number of initiatives and it was just a natural partnership to tighten it even further and become a major sponsorship.”

The Roughriders play their first pre-season game on Friday.

Article by Alex MacPherson as posted on Canada.com

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