Sat, Feb 4, 9:33am by Staff Writer
The decision of the Manly Sea Eagles to sell the naming rights to their Brookvale ground and re-brand it as ‘Lottoland’ has caused a major stir.
Critics of the move to change the ground’s name as part of a multi-million dollar sponsorship arrangement between the club and the emerging gaming company, include anti-gambling MP Nick Xenophon.
Senator Xenophon told the ABC that the deal was moving promotion of betting companies into dangerous ground, despite the fact that NRL clubs had accepted naming rights deals from gambling companies before.
“The Manly Sea Eagles and Lottoland are in a race to the bottom, this goes even further than other
brazen sponsorship deals just to rebadge an entire stadium,” he said.
“Requiring sporting commentators to simply spruik the brand is brazen and outrageous.”
Penrith’s home ground in Western Sydney was previously known as Centrebet Stadium.
Among the branding being erected around Brookvale in an 80m long Lottoland sign.
Lottoland’s managing director, Luke Brill defended the deal, saying the company, which offers Australians the opportunity to bet in the rich US lotteries market, was simply promoting its business.
“It’s not Lottoland Park, not Lottoland Stadium Oval but ‘Lottoland’,” he said. “It will run for three years and it will be up for the first game of the season.”
Brill said the club approached Lottoland with the proposal, as it looks to secure funds to update the ageing suburban infrastructure.
“We were approached by Manly in regards to assisting them with some sponsorship.
“When we looked at the situation that Manly were in where they were concerned that potentially they would have to move away from northern beaches, we felt that that was the biggest impact we could have.”
“[It’s] up to the club to decide where funds go, potentially to upgrade the stands,” he said.
Brill said he understood some of the reservations, but that it was perfectly above board and in line with advertising regulations.
“We’ve monitored the forums and obviously there’s a mixed response there from both Manly fans and the media,” he said.
“From our perspective we aren’t the first gambling company to sponsor a stadium, obviously there was a Centrebet stadium, formerly the Penrith stadium.
“So it has been done before and it’s a well-trodden route.”
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