New South Wales Fullback Hayne Says NRL Lacking Sponsor Prowess Of U.S. Leagues
American athletes like the NBA Miami Heat's LeBron James and NFL Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning "are not just athletes, they are global brands," according to Michael Chammas of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. While there "isn't the same amount of money or interest in Australian sport for athletes to demand anything near the money on offer in the US," New South Wales fullback Jarryd Hayne believes the National Rugby League "could learn a lot from the American sports when it comes to turning their players into businesses." Hayne "is frustrated by the sponsorship hurdles players have to overcome, adamant it is to the detriment of the game." The players "are the intellectual property of the NRL," which currently earns around 12% royalty on any sponsorship deals the players make, and "prohibit them from linking with brands that compete with the NRL's sponsors." Hayne: "The NRL want to own their players' image so the players are very restricted in what they can do. In the NFL, because they are in the market of competing with so many sports, they want their players to take up as much of the corporate sponsorship as possible. In league, the NRL try to take the most out of it then go to the players. Well it's the players who are the ones who are attracting the corporates and the dollars. If the players had more ownership of their image, they'd have more responsibility. If [NFL Seattle Seahawks running back] Marshawn Lynch goes and eats Skittles, the next day he's got a Skittles contract. Just little things like that, they are all about making the most of it while you can. The NRL is behind and it hasn't hit them yet" (SMH, 7/7).