Tasmanian energy retailer Aurora Energy has signed a six-year naming rights sponsorship deal covering the sports ground and facilities in the York Park precinct in Launceston, which is currently used exclusively for AFL matches in the State. On Sport spoke with Adrian Wild, manager of corporate affairs for Aurora Energy, who said that Aurora has had a long involvement with the AFL in Tasmania, dating back to the AFL's initial move into the State in 1998 when it was involved with AFL Tasmania's football development programs. Wild said that they are still significantly involved with the program and are beginning to see true rewards, with four players from the program at the Australian Institute of Sport and three players selected for the All Australian Under 16 AFL team.
He added that the company also played a part in bringing major AFL games to the State, having been a major sponsor of pre-season promotional matches involving AFL clubs since the mid 90s. Wild said that matches have always been excellent in terms of crowd figures, which proved the move was a success and encouraged the AFL to schedule more games in the State.
Wild also pointed out that in 2005 there will be one Wizard Cup match and four regular AFL matches at the ground, with St Kilda and Hawthorn agreeing to play at Aurora Stadium. The number of matches will increase further in 2006 when the MCG is required for the Commonwealth Games.
In background to the move, earlier in the year Aurora signed as the naming rights sponsor to a new corporate functions centre at the stadium, and Wild indicated that once the company saw the benefits of that deal, the naming rights sponsorship of the entire venue was the logical next step.
In terms of their main reason for taking the naming rights to the stadium, Wild said that they primarily wanted to make a contribution to an iconic landmark. He added that last year employees took part in an extensive interview to define the company's purpose and the response was 'to see the Tasmanian community prosper from Aurora's efforts', which is illustrated by their support of the stadium.
Wild indicated that an important but secondary concern to the above was the exposure the deal will generate. He said that with a number of next season's scheduled matches to most likely be played on a Sunday, and to therefore receive some excellent television coverage, the naming rights deal will increase their brand's awareness in Tasmania and also the national market. Aurora is set to enter the national electricity market in 2005.
(c) Copyright pando Publishing 2004