Funny More on the Adelaide Fellas
Received a call this morning to provide a bit more information about the Adelaide Fellas scenario.
As I had previously wondered, the "Adelaide Fellas Lightning" was certainly a preferred option for the club, but the sponsorship deal was directly linked to the "Adelaide Fellas" name eventuating. The club tried to negotiate the retention of the "Lightning" component, but it was not an option. As Cherie Smith has said in another thread, Fellas Gifts only considered the sponsorship to make business sense if the naming rights were exceptionally strong.
As is commonly known, the Adelaide WNBL team traditionally makes a loss and is a significant financial burden on the Association, but it is ideally something that many would hope to see continue to provide a goal for young, female players. That said, there has been and may continue to be opposition from people who think that the team could be disbanded so that the Association could focus on profitable or core areas.
It has not quite been an "Adelaide Fellas" or no-team-at-all crisis, but this development would definitely ease some pressure on the team. The decision has the support of most of the players, with two expressing their reservations.
Given the Wayville crowds (fairly small, high number of children entering by gold coin), the sponsorship is viewed, I think, as a rare and solid offer. In my opinion, it would be fair to say that with low attendances, the womens team may not have been in a fantastic bargaining position.
One very good point made is that this sponsorship has a very high percentage of "real aid" (sorry, read that article from ActualAid recently!). A naming rights sponsor of the 36ERS receives a hospitality suite, corporate box, signage and so on, which reduces the funds that make it directly to the bank. By comparison, Fellas Gifts are providing sponsorship in exchange for simple signage and this is more or less the only cost for the Association.
This answers my question about whether the sponsorship was even an option if "Lightning" was preserved in the team name.
I can't imagine that anyone is going to prefer the Fellas name and enjoy the change in identity, but it does bring some security to the women's team. From a branding perspective, it's a bit of a necessary evil; from the perspective of support, the team have gained a big corporate fan.