16/09/2003 - 22:00

Empire built on a brand

16/09/2003 - 22:00

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PERTH Glory’s on and off-field performances in recent seasons have earned it a reputation as the National Soccer League’s pin-up team.

Empire built on a brand

PERTH Glory’s on and off-field performances in recent seasons have earned it a reputation as the National Soccer League’s pin-up team.

Membership numbers are growing, crowds are the league’s best – especially for finals matches at Subiaco Oval – and the brand is strong.

And then there’s the glory associated with being the best team in the land, a title Perth won last June.

But building the Perth Glory brand has been an innovative and deliberate process, according to Perth Glory CEO Jeff Dennis.

Despite soccer’s chequered history in WA, Perth Glory has managed to build an image that can attract big sponsorship dollars and overcome the old stereotypes of an ethnically divided sport with crowd behaviour and control problems.

Mr Dennis said building the Perth Glory brand was made more difficult due to the lack of a recognised local soccer venue, a poor national administrative structure, and the general perception of soccer by the majority of Western Australians as a ‘weaker’ sport than Australian Rules football or rugby union.

Mr Dennis said brand building relied on a club with a name and logo that was completely new and that had no ethnic overtones — to symbolise the rebirth of soccer in WA and to attract sponsorship dollars.

Established in 1996, Perth Glory was the first privately owned soccer club in the National Soccer League. (The club is owned by Nick Tana and David Rodwell.)

Club management positioned Perth Glory as a contemporary Australian club that was actively involved in the community.

This meant going against the strong Northern Hemisphere soccer heritage with traditional strip designs and names such as ‘united’ and ‘city’.

Mr Dennis said the name Perth Glory had broad appeal and the sunburst logo was characteristic of Perth in summer.

Building the Perth Glory brand was an unashamedly marketing driven exercise, resulting in the club enjoying sold-out crowds in home finals.

The club still holds the record for maximum capacity attendance at the 2000 finals at Subiaco Oval – ahead of the Eagles and Dockers matches.

Mr Dennis said that, while other clubs in the NSL focused on committee and finance meetings, Perth Glory threw its resources behind an ambitious marketing effort to create a “big brand” impression in a bid to attract large mainstream corporate sponsors.

He said the club’s business structure was lean and flexible.

“We are a lean organisation, we outsource our media and entertainment, it allows us to keep lean and flexible,” Mr Dennis said.

“We are set up in a way that we can expand quite quickly.”

He said Glory’s exponential growth in membership in recent years had reached a plateau.

The building of a multi-purpose rectangular stadium on the old Perth Oval site was a major coup for the club’s development, Mr Dennis said.

The new facility will be officially launched at the Glory’s third home game of the nw season on December 6.

The next major obstacle the club faces, according to Mr Dennis, is the reconstruction of the National Soccer League.

“Our membership is at 8,000. It has plateaued for this season and last season. We have plateaued until we can reform, or better still, reconstruct the national soccer league,” he said.

“We need to start from scratch.

“With regards to the business of Perth Glory, that is one of the major challenges.

“Our own market and our brand in the market has been successful but we can’t move forward without those two things.

“Soccer is growing phenomenally with participation and interest at world level, but the National Soccer League has some significant challenges.

“Perth Glory has done well in our own market, but our adversaries in the National Soccer League have not fared so well. Reform of the NSL is required, indeed, it needs to be reconstructed.

“The first step is the recent changes to the soccer board under the leadership of Frank Lowy.

“There are now some people with very strong business acumen on the board. The biggest business challenges we have is the registration of the league and our stadium.  They are absolutely paramount in us moving forward.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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