Neds set to extend sponsorship with Brisbane Lions
The Brisbane Lions look set to extend their partnership with major sponsor Neds.com.au through to 2021 after the online bookmaker came to the club's rescue on the eve of the season.
Neds signed an agreement to appear on the Lions' guernsey in March after previous major sponsor SOOW failed to make sponsorship changes.
Neds, which also has prominent advertising on LED signs around the Lions' home ground at the GABBA, is the third bookmaker to appear on an AFL jumper as a major sponsor. Now extinct brands Centrebet (St Kilda from 2011-2013) and Luxbet (Richmond 2009) were the last bookmakers to get that level of exposure.
The move bucks a trend of AFL clubs moving away from corporate partnerships with Australian bookmaker sites and comes in the midst of speculation around the impact of bookmaker advertising.
Fairfax has reported that an official announcement of the sponsorship extension is only waiting on the tick of approval from the AFL.
Why the Brisbane Lions sponsorship works for Neds
After the Australian Government announced a ban on gambling advertising during live sport from 5am-8.30pm last year, bookmakers lost a key avenue to reach their target audience.
The partnership with the Brisbane Lions gives Neds an opportunity to work around the ban on AFL advertising and their timing could not be better.After a decade as a cellar dweller, the Brisbane Lions are climbing the AFL ladder and capturing the imagination of the Queensland public, attracting bigger crowds and TV ratings. Neds is well-placed to receive positive exposure alongside a team finally returning to finals in 2019.
The sponsorship also provides an opportunity for Neds, based in Queensland, to align itself with a local sporting organisation and give something back to its local community.
Why the Neds sponsorship works for Brisbane
It's no secret that the Lions are one of the AFL's most debt-laden clubs and requires financial assistance from the league every season.
Situated in a state dominated by Rugby League, the Lions have enjoyed big crowds and great success in the past, but have often struggled to make a buck when results are bad on the field.
The Lions have also struggled to attract secure sponsorships and have had two major corporate partners fail to pay their bills in recent years.
The Lions have forged a partnership with a respected local brand and can off-set the negative publicity surrounding gambling with an improved responsible gambling message.
Given the AFL itself takes significant cash from corporate bookmakers and many of the AFL clubs still profit from gambling in one form or another, we don't expect Brisbane to face any significant hurdles in getting a long-term deal approved.