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SBD Global/February 11, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Australia's Doping, Drug Scandal Could Hurt Media Rights, Especially Rugby League And AFL

The "sensational claims that some of Australia's top sporting codes may have been corrupted by match-fixing, drug use and organised crime could help to burst Australia's multi-billion dollar media sports rights bubble," according to Tabakoff & Davidson of THE AUSTRALIAN. The "scandal sweeping sport could also have a major impact on tens of millions of dollars in marketing and sponsorship earnings by sporting codes." Leading lawyers have suggested that there was a danger that "a number of sponsors could use special clauses to trigger contract 'terminations' if more details of corruption emerge." Telecom company Telstra "has already raised the spectre of dropping sponsorships if some of the allegations about drugs and match-fixing were found to be true." Johnson Winter & Slattery partner and sports law expert Mark O'Brien said clauses in contracts for sponsors had become far more common in the age of social media "because a lot of misconduct previously didn't come to any notice." Meanwhile, there are questions "about whether the value of sports rights may have peaked." Research conducted by Repucom last year showed that the deals over the past two years for Australia's top football codes, rugby league and the Australian Football League, "have resulted in the price of Australian television sports rights growing faster than in any other market" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/11).
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