SBD Global/August 1, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

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  • Australian Football League Establishes Blueprint To Win Back Victorian Fans

    The Australian Football League has established a "blueprint to win back Victorian fans," admitting that the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Etihad Stadium "no longer set the benchmark as match-day venues" and that the game's heartland has suffered due to a "highly experimental" '14 fixture and a "messy ticketing system," according to Caroline Wilson of THE AGE. Less than two months into his tenure, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has "conceded the AFL has made it too difficult for fans to get to games, has not worked in true partnership with the MCG and Etihad Stadium and the recently relaunched stadiums in Adelaide and the Gold Coast were leading the way in providing for football supporters." McLachlan has "called on all 10 Victorian clubs and Melbourne's two AFL venues to help develop a united push to lift Melbourne attendances." Victorian crowds have "fallen by almost 4,000 a game on last season" to a game average of 37,250, while attendances have "risen marginally across Australia." Proposals for '15 and beyond include:

    • An "annual 24-hour hotline offering fans the chance to buy tickets at bargain prices" to every home and away game.
    • The establishment of a "central ticketing body based on operations" such as Webjet.
    • A push for Melbourne clubs to "widen their focus beyond simply attracting big membership numbers, instead transforming those members into match-day fans."
    • The promotion and advertising of games at the MCG and Etihad in a manner "similar to interstate fixtures."

    However, "several Melbourne clubs" remained skeptical about the roles they could play in "lifting attendances, claiming they were constrained by the MCG's control over the ground and its scoreboard." Two clubs said that they had "already stretched their resources in the promotion and marketing of home games" (THE AGE, 7/30).

    LEAGUE SLAMS SLUR: In Sydney, the AFL has "condemned a homophobic slur by one of Port Adelaide's corporate sponsors, but the league's offer of counselling with a prominent activist has been deemed unnecessary by the club." Rather than "sever ties with Greg Evangelou, the owner of White Marquee Event Hire," Port Adelaide CEO Keith Thomas "denounced his offensive online post but is satisfied Evangelou is genuinely contrite" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/31). Also in Sydney, Alana Schetzer reported AFL side Essendon will create a new membership "specially for gay and lesbian fans, a move that could help pave the way for an AFL-sanctioned Pride Round." The "Purple Bombers" is an initiative of "long-time fan and club sponsor Jason Tuazon-McCheyne." The membership will be available for the '15 season (SMH, 7/31).

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  • Canberra Racing Industry Concerned Over Sale Of Betting Agency ACTTAB

    Canberra's racing industry "is seeking urgent discussions with the ACT government to address fears that the proposed sale" of betting agency ACTTAB will put the industry's financial future on "shaky ground," according to David Polkinghorne of the CANBERRA TIMES. The government agreed to sell ACTTAB to Tabcorp for A$105.5M ($98M), subject to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's approval, plus an annual licence fee of A$1M "for a  50-year lease with minimal tax." The government asked the ACT's racing industry -- comprised of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing -- "to prepare a proposal of what they wanted from any sale of the territory's gambling body last October." It is understood that "they wanted to remove any reliance on the government's budget during the sale by agreeing to a smaller-sale price, but with a larger annual component paid directly to the industry." The government said that "they had notified the industry," but as of Wednesday night it still did not have any details of the sale. The government said that "there were no plans to scrap the industry's funding and part of the deal had seen an increase in the sponsorship for the racing industry" (CANBERRA TIMES, 7/31).

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  • National Basketball League's A$1M Fee Likely To End Canberra's Bid For New Franchise

    A bid to revive a Canberra team in the National Basketball League "appears doomed to fail, with the NBL cutting financial support for its expansion program" and imposing a A$1M ($930,000) license fee on new clubs wanting to enter the competition, according to Chris Wilson of the CANBERRA TIMES. A Canberra group of basketball and business identities "had banded together over the past few months to work towards a potential bid" to enter the '15-16 NBL season. Several of the key players in the Canberra proposal "are ready to pull back from the project after the NBL made significant changes to its expansion plans in the past fortnight" -- notably introducing a A$1M participation fee for expansion clubs. While NBL CEO Fraser Neill has publicly assured there will be an expansion team in Brisbane, it is understood that "the NBL board has given him a directive to focus resources on stabilising existing clubs in the eight-team competition rather than directing any more financial support towards expansion" (CANBERRA TIMES, 7/31).

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  • League Notes: Spanish Second Division Clubs Make Last-Minute Appeals To Spanish Court

    Spanish second division sides Real Murcia and Racing Santander have "presented appeals" before Spain's Economic-Administrative Court, "a step they consider enough to overcome the ratio" required by the Spanish Football League (LFP). The clubs are "exhausting their options" to play the upcoming season in the Spanish second division. Both "are very optimistic after their latest moves" but the LFP will not decide on the subject until next Thursday at a Delegate Committee (AS, 7/31). ... Of the "potential impact of the Spanish state of Catalonia pushing for independence and possibly having success," LFP President Javier Tebas said, "If one day, Catalonia is not part of Spain, it will be something different. ... If the Sports Act stays the same as what we currently have, [Barcelona] would not be able to compete in our league. The Sports Act would have to change" (AS, 7/31). ...

    Network, putting their weight behind local athletes to help provide them with a smooth transition from their athletic to their professional careers.

    Amore Fitness, Borneo Motors Singapore, DBS Bank, Deloitte Singapore, DHL Supply Chain and Sakae Holdings were announced on Thursday to be the latest partners on the network, bringing the total number of companies on the scheme since it was launched last year to 13.

    - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/sport/more-sport-stories/story/sports-singapore-welcomes-6-corporations-spex-business-network-2#sthash.vscgt0Mi.dpuf

    Network, putting their weight behind local athletes to help provide them with a smooth transition from their athletic to their professional careers.

    Amore Fitness, Borneo Motors Singapore, DBS Bank, Deloitte Singapore, DHL Supply Chain and Sakae Holdings were announced on Thursday to be the latest partners on the network, bringing the total number of companies on the scheme since it was launched last year to 13.

    - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/sport/more-sport-stories/story/sports-singapore-welcomes-6-corporations-spex-business-network-2#sthash.vscgt0Mi.dpuf
    Six more corporations "have joined Sport Singapore's Sports Excellence (Spex) Business Network, putting their weight behind local athletes to help provide them with a smooth transition from their athletic to their professional careers." Amore Fitness, Borneo Motors Singapore, DBS Bank, Deloitte Singapore, DHL Supply Chain and Sakae Holdings "were announced on Thursday to be the latest partners on the network, bringing the total number of companies on the scheme since it was launched last year to 13" (STRAITS TIMES, 7/31). ... A contentious peptide at the center of Australian Football League side Essendon doping scandal that "prompted calls for the club's captain to be stripped of his Brownlow Medal has been declared safe to consume" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA approval for AOD9604 to be "added to food, drinks and dietary supplements will provide comfort to Essendon players who were administered the substance" during the '12 season. The "Generally Recognised as Safe" status "throws into question the World Anti-Doping Authority's stated reason for declaring AOD9604 a banned substance: that it had not been approved for human use." Andrew Garnham, a sports physician who last year advised Essendon on the "safety and anti-doping status of AOD9604, said the FDA approval was based on information largely ­publicly available during the supplements saga" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/1).

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