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Sports marketers face regulation

SPORTS marketers will face tighter regulation as the share of the sports dollar becomes smaller.

Vision Events Management director Peter Hesketh said conflict existed between sporting bodies, clubs, venues, teams, sportspeople and their managers.

All want a share of the lucrative sports dollar. Yet, while the cake is getting smaller, each wants a bigger slice.

Mr Hesketh believes the situation will soon come to a head.

He said there were already conflicts brewing in sports circles regarding footwear and other sporting apparel.

A classic example comes from the Australian Football League where each team arranges sponsorship with a major footwear supplier such as Nike or Adidas.

Mr Hesketh said some player’s managers then organise a football boot sponsorship with a different supplier to the one the player’s team has chosen.

“There must be a more encompassing code of ethics or else the sporting bodies will have to regulate,” he said.

West Coast Eagles marketing manager Ross Nicholas said there had been major growth in sports sponsorship.

“Companies now realise sport is a great opportunity for promoting their products and corporate hospitality,” Mr Nicholas said.

He said sports marketing was starting to eat into the dollars usually given to companies’ advertising agencies.

“A lot of companies now have their own marketing teams who are more selective in how they use their dollars. A lot of the dollars are now going to sport sponsorship,” Mr Nicholas said.

He said, in turn, sporting clubs had become more sponsor-oriented.

“You must deliver value and ensure the sponsors are well-serviced,” Mr Nicholas said.

“We are showing that sport can be a terrific way of promoting a company or its products while being cost effective.”

The rapidly escalating value of the sports sponsorship dollar has been readily apparent in the AFL.

Princes Park, home of the Carlton Football Club has become Optus Oval.

Carlton even changed its navy blue playing strip to what could be described as ‘baby-blue’ to support a promotion for M&Ms.

Kardinya Park, the home of the Geelong Cats, is now Shell Stadium. The AFL’s new Docklands stadium’s naming rights were sold to the Colonial group.

Geelong player Gary Hocking even changed his name by deed poll to Whiskas for two weeks in honour of the cat food for financial gains to himself and his club.

And McDonalds wasted no time in having its golden arches emblazoned on the footballs used at AFL matches.

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