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SBD Global/February 3, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Online Dating Service Offers National Rugby League Side Cronulla $8.7M Sponsorship Deal

An online dating service encouraging extra-marital affairs "has offered to sponsor" National Rugby League side Cronulla in a deal worth more than A$10M ($8.7M), according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Int'l social networking service Ashley Madison -- whose company slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair"-- has prepared a record sponsorship offer to the cash-strapped club. In a letter to Cronulla CEO Steve Noyce, Ashley Madison Founder & CEO Noel Biderman "outlined a proposal" which included covering a A$1M fine provisionally imposed by the NRL over the club's supplements program in '11 in return for naming rights sponsorship on its jersey. All up, "the deal is worth" A$11M over a decade. It is "the second time Ashley Madison has attempted to get into bed with the Sharks." Noyce said that "he was unaware of the offer when contacted during the week." No other NRL club has been harder hit by the fallout from the infamous "darkest day in sport" press conference. The Sharks have since spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees and face a fine of A$1M and the suspension of coach Shane Flanagan for up to a year if the NRL’s provisional sanctions become permanent. Even if the new Cronulla board accepted the proposal, "the Australian Rugby League Commission could block the deal if it felt the association tarnished the image of the code" (SMH, 2/1).

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