Last month, Ladbrokes Australia extended its presence in the National Rugby League (NRL) by agreeing to sponsor the back of Newcastle Knights’ home and away shirts for the 2017 season.
We caught up with interim CEO Jason Scott to discuss the early impact of the deal and the company’s approach to sponsoring both Newcastle Knights and the Gold Coast Titans in the same league.
SBC: How pleased are you with the impact of the sponsorship after one month of the NRL season?
JS: We have been very happy with our initial experiences with the Newcastle Knights. They are a fantastic, enthusiastic group of people to work with and Ladbrokes transition into the club has been seamless.
SBC: How reliant is your partnership on success for Newcastle Knights? For example, in terms of positive brand association, ensuring more high-profile coverage later in the season etc.
JS: Clearly both Ladbrokes and the Knights went into the season with realistic expectations, and a lap of honour with Premiership Medallions around the players’ necks wasn’t ever on the horizon in 2017.
Our partnership with the Knights is about supporting the club and creating a relationship that will enable us to become the bookmaker of choice for a large portion of the five hundred thousand people that live in the Hunter region and support the club.
SBC: How have you approached the dual sponsorship of Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast Titans? Did you run any special promotions around the match between the two sides on 11 March?
JS: We don’t see supporting multiple clubs in the same competition as a conflict. The clubs we are involved with have vastly different characteristics, different supporter bases and different expectations of on field performance and thus results in the short term.
We deliberately didn’t run any promotions when the club met on field. It is our position that Ladbrokes’ role as sponsor is to support the clubs, not to become part of the dialogue of the match by bringing attention to our contribution through a further promotion.
SBC: As the Knights celebrate their 30th year, is there anything planned for the anniversary that you can take advantage of as a sponsor?
JS: We are continually working with Newcastle to extend our footprint into the Hunter Region in various ways that are advantageous to both ourselves and the Knights. The thirty-year anniversary is just one of those opportunities.
SBC: Has the Australian parliament outlawing online poker and in-play sports betting given you more encouragement to promote Ladbrokes’ sports betting services in the country?
JS: The online in play decision by the parliament hasn’t had an effect on our sponsorship and marketing strategy.