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SBD Global/July 17, 2017/Marketing and Sponsorship

Australian Football League Sponsors Standing Firm As Sex Scandal Unfolds

The Australian Football League’s "prized" A$15M ($11.7M)-a-season deal with title sponsor Toyota is "safe" as the carmaker declared it has "full faith" in the sport’s administrators after revelations about a sex scandal, according to Darren Davidson of THE AUSTRALIAN. Other "big name brands" including Carlton & United Breweries are "standing firm behind the sport and even praise the code’s administrators" for their handling of the reported revelations. Toyota, AFL’s premier partner of 13 years, extended its long-term partnership last year until at least the end of '19, "ranking it among the biggest sponsorship deals in Australian sport." A Toyota spokesperson said, "Toyota's relationship with the AFL remains unchanged. ... We're a long-time sponsor of the AFL, and believe it's a great game to be part of." AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan forced the resignations of two of his most senior execs after they admitted to "having affairs with younger female employees." The AFL "sought to tamp down any concerns" among partners by reaching out to sponsors directly on Friday as the affairs became public after a report in the Herald Sun. CUB is "deeply embedded" in the AFL with tie-ups such as The Carlton Draught Friday Front Bar show. A spokesperson for CUB said, "CUB and the AFL share a great partnership fostered over many years, and which we expect to continue to flourish." Adam Ferrier, a brand expert and founder of Melbourne-based agency Thinkerbell, said that the AFL "avoided serious damage" to the game’s brand by "getting on the front foot." Ferrier said, "The indiscretions of staff have been well handled by the AFL. They've come out and acknowledged the issue" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/17).
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