Monday, June 26, 2006

All in the game: Sponsorship

It is a matter of record that before the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 Australia’s captain Mark Viduka (Middlesborough) was decked out in Puma gear for a photo shoot outside a sports store in Australia. Just one week later the same player was dressed in Nike gear. Sponsors have clambered on board to make the most of Australian soccer's rare appearance on the later stage of the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006. With the notable exception of Liverpoolwinger, Harry Kewell none of the Socceroos had individual sponsorships before their qualifying victory over Uruguay in Sydney, November 2005. Success has meant players can now negotiate a myriad of commercial arrangements. The work done against Uruguay definitely lifted the team’s status, and as national heroes, the Socceroos have become public property with much potential for commercial success. The use of player images to market the game and apparel make their endorsement a valuable asset. Now Viduka will be seen playing and training with the Socceroos in his Nike gear, as per contract. However the player is still allowed to wear his own Puma boots for matches and is free to do sponsorship work for Puma outside Socceroos time. In exchange for their co-operation, Australian players get 30 per cent of the Australian Federation's net sponsorship deal and will share this equally. Apparently the team sponsors are required to use at least four player images at a time to avoid undermining individual sponsorships, and to reinforce perceptions of a team game. Jostling for their moment in the World Cup spotlight are team sponsors Qantas , Nike, Hyundai , Powerade , Telstra , National Australia Bank(NAB), Westfield and SBS . A representative of Football Federation Australia has had to take advertising hoardings for Westfield and NAB halfway across the world and installed them around the training grounds so Australians would see them in the background when the Socceroos were training.

Go Aussie Go......

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