Wests Tigers Lose One Million Dollar Sponsorship Deal In Hagipantelis Fallout

Wests Tigers Lose One Million Dollar Sponsorship Deal In Hagipantelis Fallout

The Wests Tigers have confirmed that Brydens Lawyers will end their one-million-dollar partnership with the club at the end of the 2024 season.

The law firm first joined the club in 2015 and upgraded to a principal shirtfront partnership in 2016. In an official statement shared to the Tigers’ website today, it was announced the relationship would be coming to a close.

Wests Tigers CEO Shane Richardson thanked the Sydney based firm for its loyalty over the years. “This club has faced several challenges on and off the field over this time, but the one constant throughout has been the unwavering support from Brydens Lawyers,” he said.

The news comes amid a period of unrest for the struggling club. In December last year, former Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis, who also happens to be the principal of Brydens Lawyers, was ousted from the club in dramatic fashion following an internal review commissioned by major shareholder Holman Barnes.

Following the fallout, there was much debate surrounding the future of the firm’s connection with the club past the end of their existing deal.

NRL journo Phil Rothfield officially broke the news, reporting in a column in The Daily Telegraph that he had seen a scathing two-page letter penned by Hagipantelis and addressed to Tigers’ head of corporate partnerships, Nathan Russell (who was not involved in Hagipantelis’ exit), that announced the end of the relationship between the law firm and the club.

Rothfield was reportedly advised by News Corp to remove the letter from the piece to avoid defamatory ramifications. “You should see the unedited version of the letter,” Rothfield told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast.

He did report large chunks of the final letter in which Hagipantelis referred to the review as a “sham” and called key stakeholders at the club “cowards”.

“The disgraceful events of 12 December last year impacted significantly and adversely on the relationship of Brydens Lawyers and Wests Tigers given the disrespectful way I, as Chairman of Wests Tigers, was treated by the representatives of the Club’s stakeholders,” Hagipantelis reportedly wrote in the letter.

“Despite such despicable conduct, I continued with my commitment to the current contractual arrangements as opposed to terminating same, a course adopted by another high-profile sponsor”.

“I felt that the honourable thing to do was to fulfil my current obligations, although honour is a quality that does not seem to permeate throughout the upper echelons of the Wests Tigers ownership”.

Within the letter, Hagipantelis reportedly claims that Richardson did not make himself available to discuss the future of the partnership. “Recent events have compounded the concerns which I have held with respect to the continuing relationship of Brydens Lawyers and Wests Tigers,” he wrote. “Firstly, the distinct lack of engagement by your CEO in our discussions with respect to the continuation of our sponsorship is most disconcerting”.

“In my experience, which is very extensive, the CEO of any club or community organisation would become intrinsically involved in discussions with the Major Sponsor when negotiating a sponsorship agreement. Most CEOs would regard this engagement as being important. Obviously, yours does not”.

B&T contacted Brydens Lawyers for comment on the end of the partnership but did not receive a response prior to publication.

The end of the relationship leaves the Tigers in the hunt for a new principal front-of-short sponsor ahead of the kick-off of the 2025 season.

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