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Naming rights for Perth’s Optus Stadium emerges as Western Australian election issue
The sale of the naming rights for Perth's Optus Stadium has emerged as an issue in the Western Australian election with Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup saying an elected Liberal government would cancel the sponsorship with the telecommunications giant.
During its construction, then state Premier Colin Barnett rejected plans to sell the venue’s naming rights, stating, in 2015 “having the name of the host city within the name of that city’s most significant big sports grounds is common practice around the world.
"Think of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Adelaide Oval and the Singapore Sports Hub as very well-known examples."
However, when Labor won the 2017 state election new Premier Mark McGowan allowed a naming rights sponsor to be secured as part of moves to pay down state debt by getting a sponsor instead.
Optus signed a 10-year naming rights deal with the Western Australian Government’s Venues West agency in 2017 for an estimated $50 million.
However, campaigning for nest month’s state election Kirkup claimed changing the name to Perth Stadium would lead to job creation, commenting telling WAToday “what we need to do here is make sure we have every opportunity to draw more events here ... and promote our city here.
“We’d negotiate with Optus about what that looks like but we’ll get it done.”
In response, Premier McGowan said the Liberal Party was just giving away “scores of millions of dollars” of revenue to the state for no reason.
He went on to say “prior to COVID, we had the strongest tourism growth in history.
“We had a tourism industry that was going absolutely gangbusters and that was because of all the measures we put in place to promote tourism. All they [the Liberals] have done is a bit of a stunt.
“We took the policy to do this to sell the naming rights ... to the last election because it’s basically, the taxpayers get money for nothing.
“If the Liberal Party has their way they’ll just give away money ... it shows how risky and inexperienced they are.”
Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas said he would like to see the facility renamed Perth Stadium but not at the cost of the taxpayer, adding “I think we’re missing out on a golden opportunity for additional promotion.
“Having said that, I understand the state government came into power and were advocating prudent financial management and were conscious of a debt they wanted to manage.
“I’m not sure I would advocate for the current arrangement to be torn up if that then costs the state five years’ worth of the existing sponsorship and we have to pay that money out effectively for nothing.”
The Liberals renaming announcement was part of the party’s sport plan which includes $36.4 million of commitments and a matching of $130 million promised in the portfolio by Labor.
The Liberal party has also committed $20 million for the redevelopment of the State Tennis Centre at Burswood, while, in tourism, it has pledged to create a $50 million tourism infrastructure and attraction fund, create a stand-alone Tourism WA agency with a chief executive reporting directly to the Tourism Minister and increase funding for five regional tourist organisations.
In 2018 the current Western Australian Government also sold the naming rights for the Perth Arena, now known as the RAC Arena.
Images: Naming rights branding at Optus Stadium (top) and the RAC Arena (below).
4th February 2021 - Western Australian lockdown impacts leading sport leagues
29th January 2021 - Naming rights deal revealed for Redcliffe’s Dolphin Stadium
25th January 2021 - Rooftop tour set to open at Perth’s Optus Stadium
21st January 2021 - Optus Stadium set to be transformed with ultra-fast 5G connectivity
8th December 2020 - Perth’s Optus Stadium precinct set to host pop-up go kart attraction
23rd August 2020 - Optus Stadium reaches milestone 100th event milestone
24th June 2020 - Optus Stadium ready to welcome crowds back from 18th July
6th January 2020 - Optus Stadium named Australia’s best venue
28th September 2019 - Two million attend Optus Stadium events in 2018
30th June 2019 - Naming rights partner sought for North Queensland Stadium
20th August 2018 - RAC secures Perth Arena naming rights
8th November 2017 - Optus secures naming rights for new Perth Stadium
12th February 2017 - Tourism Council Western Australia launches election campaign
17th August 2015 - No naming rights sale for new Perth Stadium
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