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Queensland Government looks to attract naming rights partner for the Gabba
In what is likely to be one of the most challenging venue naming rights offers ever made in Australia, the Queensland Government is inviting national and international brands to step forward to link with Brisbane’s iconic Gabba Stadium.
Announcing the offer, Queensland Minister for Sport and Minister for Public Works Mick de Brenni advised that naming rights sponsorship for the Gabba was a recommendation of the independent Stadiums Queensland Taskforce Report prepared last year by a panel Chaired by experienced industry administrator John Lee.
Minister de Brenni stated “after 123 years, we are unlocking the opportunity to restore the Gabba to its former glory.
“Giving this process the green light is the next leap forward to modernising our major sports facilities and the authority that runs them.”
The Queensland Government describe the Gabba’s naming rights as "an historic opportunity for the successful sponsor to reach new customers, improve brand recognition and help improve one of Queensland’s most-beloved sporting venues."
However, industry insiders view trying to sell the naming rights for the Gabba as being uniquely challenging.
One commentator, who asked that their name be withheld, advised "trying to seek naming rights partners for an historic venue such as the Gabba - and this also would apply to the MCG, the SCG or the Adelaide Oval - is going to be difficult.
“Newly built venues offer a blank canvas for a naming rights sponsor but adding a sponsor’s name to an historic venue doesn’t sit well with fans and stakeholders ... remember the controversy when Cricket Australia sold the naming rights for the Sheffield Shield, with its renaming as the Pura Milk Cup being deeply unpopular.
“The end result can sully an historic name for a treasured venue, who would like this historic stadium being known as the ‘Cheap Phones Gabba’?”
Seeking naming rights is also a crowded marketplace at the moment, with the Sydney Showgrounds Stadium, Wellington Regional Stadium and new Queensland State Netball Centre each looking for new partners.
Spruiking the sale, Queensland Deputy Premier and Member for South Brisbane Jackie Trad advised “the Gabba, a much-loved landmark not just for my community but for the entire state, is beamed to almost 36 million people worldwide every year.
“Naming rights come with a host of promotional and marketing opportunities including venue signage and branding, corporate hospitality and direct access to one of Australia’s largest and most passionate fan bases.
“Of course, a key condition of any deal will be that the iconic name ‘Gabba’ be retained.”
Renowned as one of the best cricket wickets in the world, the Gabba is the home ground of the Brisbane Heat and Queensland Bulls cricket clubs as well as the Brisbane Lions AFL team.
Minister de Brenni noted that many of the world’s most famous sporting and entertainment centres have a naming rights deal in place, including the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, London’s Emirates Stadium and Kia Oval, Munich’s Allianz Arena, Perth’s Optus Stadium and Brisbane’s own Suncorp Stadium, adding “inside the boundary fence, the Gabba is the best ground in the world, which makes it surprising to the rest of the world that we have not yet locked down a corporate partnership for naming rights.”
Minister de Brenni did not reference these venues all being new, or in the case of Suncorp Stadium, having been redeveloped in the past 20 years.
Minister de Brenni concluded “it’s important to note that this entire process for naming rights is one of collaboration between the stadium authority and its major hirers, AFL and cricket.”
The Stadiums Queensland Taskforce Report was also critical of the current administration of The Gabba and recommended its management be put out to tender. To date, this has not been actioned.
Expressions of interest in naming rights for the Gabba close on 17th April 2019.
For more information visit www.stadiums.qld.gov.au
25th February 2019 - New Queensland State Netball Centre and Firebirds base gets official opening
20th February 2019 - Westpac to end naming rights partnership with Wellington Regional Stadium Trust
19th December 2018 - Taskforce sets out future for Stadiums Queensland venues
17th December 2018 - Crowds - and losses - rise at Stadiums Queensland venues in 2017/18
23rd November 2018 - Applications for Brisbane Arena Naming Rights remain open
21st August 2018 - New name for Melbourne’s Hisense Arena
25th May 2018 - Secret Gabba renovation plans leaked to media
7th February 2018 - Queensland Sport Minister flags need for upgrades at Brisbane’s The Gabba
29th December 2016 - Ticketmaster accused of facilitating scalping at Big Bash League Gabba sellout
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