News Analysis: Has Oz sport lost its innocence?

News Analysis: Has Oz sport lost its innocence?
SHARE
THIS



Recent scandals have rocked Australian sport to its foundations. Although most of the controversy has involved domestic codes, it’s not gone unnoticed in the wider global sporting community. Andrew Jennings looks at what it all means for the once golden Australian Sports Brand

Over three months have passed since Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare and Sports Minister Kate Lundy stood in front of a packed press conference in Canberra to tell Australians that professional sport in their country was rotten.

The Australian Crime Commission’s (ACC) report released on that day, which looked into doping in sports and its links to organised crime, sent shockwaves through Australia’s sporting communities and beyond.

Evidence was scant but the tone and symbolism of the announcement left politicians and the press in no doubt: it was the darkest day in Australian sport’s history. Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she was “sickened” by the ACC report that made headlines across the globe.

The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, John Fahey, said the findings were alarming, but did not come as a shock to him.

“That was the case in the Olympic movement with doping,” he said. “It’s the case in cycling – we’ve seen so much of in recent times.” Now sadly, said Fahey, it’s the case it seems here in Australia.

One paragraph of the report reads: “Australians are proud of their sporting ability and reputation as a nation of good sports, and our society expects high standards of behaviour from all people involved in sport.”

Fahey said he believes the ACC's findings would tarnish Australia’s traditional reputation as a nation that values good sportsmanship and fair play, while National Olympic boss John Coates stated that the publicity surrounding the report has clouded the once-great worldwide reputation of Australian sport.

Coates added that at a recent International Olympic Committee meeting in Switzerland the report was a hot topic of discussion, and he "certainly had a lot of questions and some explaining to do”.

The question must now be asked, given the fallout from ACC report, added to the bad behaviour of Australian swimmers at the London Olympics and recent public backlash against the incorporation of gambling into live sport, has the once golden ‘Australian Sports Brand’ been irrevocably tarnished?

“I don’t think that to be the case,” says Mark Coad, chief executive at PHD Australia. “I remain unconvinced that the brand is tarnished as a consequence of these scandals. One of the primary drivers of sport is popularity – whether that’s with viewers or sponsors, that’s its success.”

Coad adds that Australians “love to be winners”, so it’s more a case that “if we don’t perform well over time, audiences do decline, so in turn so does the value to sponsors”.

Mat Baxter, chief executive at UM Australia, believes there is now an image and reputation problem facing sport in Australia, which will have an effect on how media buying agencies operate in relation to it.

“Sport has always had a premium attached to it, because it has always disproportionately punched above its weight,” says Baxter.

“Association with sport has always been a shortcut for brands to be more credible, borrowing equity from sports stars and specific codes,” he adds, saying that he believes some of those benefits have been eroded and replaced with risk, following the scandals.

Erminio Putignano, former managing director at FutureBrand Australia and co-founder of Push Collective, said that the sense of innocence around sport Down Under has evaporated.

“Sport in Australia has been held in a higher consideration than elsewhere, with ethics and morality to the fore,” says Putignano. “While Europe has had its scandals for years, Australia has been relatively untouched. Paradoxically, it’s almost as if sport is maturing here to something similar to what it is in rest of the world. All of sudden Australians have lost their innocence to sport and will probably become more cynical as a result.”

Ken Shadbolt, fellow co-founder of Push, says that from a brand management point of view, the way the codes and organisations have reacted to the scandals has been important.

“In many ways, there's a sense of reassurance for the public and brands that these things have been brought to light and not been pushed under the carpet,” he says.

“At same time, the commercialisation of sport is growing, so it should be the role of the sponsors to put further pressure on the codes and the clubs to make sure things are monitored and scandals are avoided.”

Both Coad and Baxter believe that sport is highly resilient to scandal, and viewers will continue to switch on no matter what is happening off the field.

“The truth of it is that Australians will continue to turn up en masse to AFL and NRL games and the ratings will continue to be high,” says Baxter.

“There’s a degree of separation for punters about what happens off the field and the competition and entertainment on it. It’s very rare that you see a scandal in sport negatively impact on its participation and viewership among the average consumer."

Baxter says the amazing irony is that people will make their objections known when a scandal breaks, then watch the sport nonetheless. Coad adds that scandals will not see viewers turn their back on sports. In fact, he says, it could have the opposite effect and bring people back to a sport as they see it is cleaning up its act.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan

No Women in Media series would be complete without the irrepressible Aimee Buchanan. Read all her pressibles here.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SBS To Broadcast All Of The World Cup Group Stage, As Optus Agrees To Reimburse Customers
  • Media

SBS To Broadcast All Of The World Cup Group Stage, As Optus Agrees To Reimburse Customers

SBS and Optus have “mutually agreed” that SBS will  broadcast the remainder of the World Cup group stage up until Friday 29 June. Optus had paid subscriber rights to many of the group stage games, yet technical faults have plagued its streaming service, infuriating viewers and forcing even the prime minister himself to intervene. SBS CEO, Michael Ebeid, said: “The FIFA World Cup is the absolute […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.

Set for blue sky, different clouds icons, cloud shapes, labels, symbols, icons. Flat graphic vector elements
  • Technology

PubMatic Unveils Cloud for Publishers And Tech Companies

PubMatic has launched PubMatic Cloud for publishers and tech companies looking to implement and control their own programmatic technology. By accessing PubMatic’s technology, global infrastructure and demand connections on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) basis, clients are able to achieve full transparency and achieve greater control over their programmatic monetization. As programmatic trading becomes mainstream, innovations such as […]

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall

The Women in Media Awards are back for 2018! To celebrate this wonderful fact, and to recognise some of the killer women in our industry, we’ve created a women in media series – and have profiled some pretty inspiring women so far. This week, we chat with Bauer Media head of trade marketing Claudine Hall. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  
  • Media

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  

Arq Group has launched a new identity created by award-winning agency Hulsbosch, with the business rebranding from Melbourne IT to Arq. Previously known as Melbourne IT, the company was founded in 1996 as one of Melbourne University’s commercial ventures with the sole rights to manage .au domains in the early days of the Internet. Melbourne IT […]

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD

ANZ, in partnership with PHD and Adshel, have taken to the streets with a total take-over of the entire Adshel Live network. For one hour, between 8am and 9am on Tuesday 19 June, ANZ is inviting commuters to download the new ANZ app by showing six different ways the app can help them manage their […]

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business
  • Media

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business

IPG’s Initiative and Dentsu’s Carat have both been awarded a slice of the West Australian government’s $65 million spend. The government account is broken into two entities – campaign and non-campaign – each with its own agency roster. Carat has retained its long-standing position on the agency panel for all campaign work, which accounts for […]

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!
  • Marketing

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!

In case you missed it last week, a very lucky phone number – 1800 80 80 80 – is up for sale. And it could be yours!

Partner Content

by Customer Connect

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views
  • Technology

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views

AppNexus, the world’s leading independent advertising technology company, today announced the launch of Guaranteed Views, a marketplace product that changes the way advertising is bought and sold on the open internet. Guaranteed Views enables marketers and agencies to pay only for ads that are measured as viewable and is the first programmatic product that enables 100% viewable buying at scale outside of Facebook and Google.

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore

Bereft of any Monday motivation? Let today's Women in Media profile be like low-current electric waves to the brain.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%
  • Marketing

Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%

• Ad spend in Australia forecast to grow by 2.8% in 2018 , with main drivers of growth in Government, Retail, Finance and Gambling sectors. • Global advertising spend to grow by 3.9%, revised up from 3.6% in January 2018. • Digital to overtake TV for the first time, to reach 38.4% of global share (TV 35.5%). In 21 out of the 59 markets tracked, digital will be the leading advertising channel in 2018. • One quarter (25.2%) of global ad spend will be delivered through mobile devices for the first time.

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria
  • Media

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria

Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines has announced the appointment of Emma Baston as client strategy director for Victoria. Baston has worked in senior digital media buying and planning roles at various agencies including UM Australia, Cummins&Partners and MindShare, with exposure across the strategy, communications and creative process. She has also worked at Facebook in a […]

Seamless pattern of a crowd of many different people profile heads. Vector background.
  • Media

SBS Launches Diverse Communities Content Initiative

SBS has launched the Short-Form Content Initiative, a commitment to providing increased opportunities for Australian creatives from diverse communities through the commissioning and production of content for SBS On Demand. SBS has partnered with five of Australia’s screen agencies, including Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen Queensland, Screenwest and South Australian Film Corporation. The initiative aims […]

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi
  • Campaigns

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi

BIG W, the home for families, fun and entertainment, has today launched its annual toy sale campaign – Toy Mania. Running until 11 July, the campaign showcases the frenzy and hysteria that comes with the BIG W toy sale. It also highlights that buying toys can be just as fun as playing with them and […]

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’
  • Technology

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’

Datorama, a global technology company, today announced the launch of Data Canvas, a suite of new data visualisation capabilities within its Marketing Intelligence platform. Datorama Data Canvas leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in a brand new way — to help marketers create expert-designed dashboards to tell compelling, data-driven stories. Datorama’s previous AI releases have […]