Australian sport hit by loss of sponsors

Swim Australia loses major sponsor
Soccer Australia loses digital partner
Australian sport on the ropes
Irish Rugby inflicts defeat at U20

Swim AustraliaAustralian sport is reeling once more this morning after the withdrawal of not one but two major sponsors, both worth millions to the sports of swimming and soccer respectively.

Energy Australia has withdrawn its $2 million a year support only 12 months into a five year deal.  The decision is believed to be partly down to the resignation of Swim Australia President Barclay Nettlefold in a scandal over alleged lewd comments to staff.

The sponsorship made up a significant portion of the organisations commercial revenue and adds to the financial problems caused by a cut of $500,000 in central funding as a result of poor performance at the London Olympic Games.

Optus, the second largest mobile and telecommunications company in the country has notified the Australian Soccer authorities that it is not renewing its deal which included digital rights and running of the ten senior clubs mobile and web services.

It has been an official partner of soccer from international through club to grassroots for the past five years but is now pulling out of all its major sponsorships to focus on activity that will directly enhance customer experience and stop falling revenues.

With TV and Digital rights up for renewal it is likely that Telstar will leverage the shareholding of its TV partner Foxtel to make a first foray into soccer sponsorship but the loss is still a major blow given the breadth and depth of the relationship that had been fostered over the five years.

The two losses will bring pressure to bear on the Government funded campaign to lessen the involvement of alcohol sponsorship in sport, whereby funding was provided from a levy on ‘alcopops’ to make up the shortfall within any sport outside the major ones that pledged to relinquish sponsorship income from drinks company.

As is inevitable in sport events on the field of play can gloss over problems off it, and often lead to resolution of the same but Australia can take little comfort there either with the Irish U-20 Rugby team, supported by PwC, inflicting a surprise defeat at the World Cup in France last night.

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