Sports Business

Racing Queensland launches new Country Cups Challenge

RACING Queensland has created the ‘Country Cups Challenge’, celebrating the significant contribution country racing makes to the sporting calendar – and culminating in a $70,000 metropolitan final on one of the Summer Racing Carnival’s most popular days.

Set for Group 3 George Moore Stakes Day at Doomben on December 1, 2018, the Country Cups Challenge will bring together the winners of 16 Country Cups held across Queensland between September and November.

Racing Queensland general manager of Racing (Thoroughbred) Simon Stout said the new series was a welcome addition to the new-look and highly successful Queensland Summer Racing Carnival. 

“I welcome this new series as it provides Racing Queensland with another fabulous opportunity to showcase our regional participants, who are among the country’s most talented and hard-working, to a nationwide audience,” Mr Stout said.

“While the Battle of the Bush put the spotlight on some of the bush’s most hardened sprinters, the Country Cups Challenge will act as a ‘grand final’ for Queensland’s country cups circuit.”

This new challenge complements the inaugural Battle of the Bush Series, which brought 16 sprinters from the country to the city on Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara Day.

Mr Stout said Racing Queensland recognised the significant contribution country racing has made, and continues to make to the wider industry and state economy.

“Country racing generates 47 percent of the $1.2 billion in economic value the Queensland industry generates each year,” Mr Stout said.

The final will be run under the conditions of a Quality Handicap (1600m) race, with qualifiers required to have competed in no less than three non-TAB races in the 12 months immediately preceding acceptance date for that qualifying race. 

Like the Battle of the Bush Series, float subsidies of between $500 and $2000, depending on the region of travel, will be paid to the trainers of horses that remain in the final field after final scratching time.


Aust. Diamonds head coach signs with Netfit Netball

NETFIT Netball has signed Samsung Australian Diamonds’ head coach Lisa Alexander as its official ‘coach ambassador’ to help boost access to the sport.

The new My Netfit app – known as the ‘Netflix of Netball’ – is the brainchild of former elite netballer Sarah Wall and current Giants netball captain and former Diamonds’ vice captain, Kim Green.

My Netfit provides users with on-demand access to interactive netball resources tailored for both players and coaches, including a full year fitness, nutrition, coaching and well-being plan. 

“To have Lisa Alexander part of the Netfit Netball family and endorse our philosophies is not only a coup for Netfit but for the netball community who will use the My Netfit app,” Sarah Wall said.  

“Lisa will join leading Australian netballer Kim Green and other health and fitness experts in delivering exclusive video and written content for the My Netfit app as part of a personal development plan to inspire players and coaches.” 

One of the most successful national team coaches of any sport in modern times, and known as ‘The People’s Coach’, Ms Alexander will share her coaching knowledge with My Netfit subscribers through a series of exclusive videos that provide real-time, step-to-step instruction and analysis.

“I’ve long admired Netfit Netball’s passionate and progressive approach to promoting the holistic benefits of playing netball, and how Netfit deliver programs that reflect the way in which the public want to engage in sport,” Ms Alexander said.

“Netball continues to be the top team sport for female participation in Australia and there is a growing appetite from within the netball community to access elite knowhow to aid both individual and team development. 

“The My Netfit app enables users based in cities, regional or remote areas to access premium content that is not only cutting-edge but portable, engaging and relevant,” Ms Alexander said. 

Ms Wall said the My Netfit app year-round plan is broken down into six-week blocks. The inaugural six-week program started on July 16. 

The My Netfit  plan includes a fitness program of HIIT classes, running drills, body weight training, speed, footwork and agility. It also focuses on nutrition – with an eating plan and recipes – along with well-being aspects such as yoga and meditation. The My Netfit coaching content includes session plans, team fitness activities and worksheets.

The app is available in both android and IOS and a yearly subscription is $119. 


The other Spa in motor racing

JACUZZI SPAS is using the 2018 Australian Production Cars season as a national Launchpad for its brand.

Jacuzzi Spas, based in Brisbane, took the naming rights for rounds one and two, in May and July, and as part of the sponsorship, will supply $50,000 worth of end-of-year prizes.

Owner and manager Kelli Blair said she was very pleased to be throwing her support behind Australian Production Cars (APC).

“At Jacuzzi Spas’ Queensland dealership, we live and breathe Jacuzzi Spas and believe in the benefits they can offer to elite athletes such as racing car drivers,” Ms Blair said. 

“We are very excited to partner with the Australian Production Cars and look forward to hopefully working with some of its competitors to assist them to be in the best racing form they can be through the benefits of Jacuzzi hydrotherapy.

“As part of our support of the series, we will be offering a $10,000 voucher to the outright winner of the series and $5,000 vouchers to the winners of each class which the recipients can use towards applicable Jacuzzi hot tubs and spas.

“The Australian Production Cars is growing as a real drawcard for the elite racers of both tomorrow and today, and we can’t wait to see what this year’s line-up has in store at the opening round at Sandown Raceway,” she said at the sponsorship announcement.

Jacuzzi Spas Australian Production Cars category manager, Iain Sherrin, said he was “very pleased to welcome the prestigious brand on-board”.

“Everyone at the APC is very excited to have such a well-known and respected global brand getting behind us as we get ready for our 2018 season,” Mr Sherrin said.

“With an over-subscribed field for the season opener, entries flooding in for our future rounds including our own APC-run Phillip Island Six Hour Grand Final, and now this great support from Jacuzzi Spas, this season is shaping up to our best yet.”


Sport events attract international support

EVENT-SPECIALIST lawyers MinterEllison are tracking increased investment in Australian sport by international companies – especially from Asia.

MinterEllison, as the official lawyers of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018), are not only seeing major investment inflows as a result of GC2018 but also into other sporting codes and events.

“We’ve seen first-hand over the last three years a definite increase in interest from overseas parties wanting to participate in the Australian sports and events industry,” MinterEllison sports law expert Paula Robinson said.

“One of the key insights for me has been the growing impact and importance of sport and major sporting events – and indeed the investments made by the wider Asian region.” 

MinterEllison dedicated an embedded team of seven legal experts to provide a fully outsourced legal and brand protection service to GC2018. This ‘first’ was part of a three-year partnership with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) which started in 2015.

Ms Robinson said Australia’s reputation of being a reliable host of major international sporting events, and its growing ability to win prestigious hosting rights, has resulted in international investors seeking new ways to get involved and be ‘seen’ at these events.

“The MinterEllison sports law practice has seen a pattern of new wealth and sporting development/investment coming from the Asian region in particular,” Ms Robinson said.

“Through the Commonwealth Games we've worked on many matters with parties from various nations – juggling expectations, requirements and demands across jurisdictions has been challenging, but being at the ‘pointy-end’ has really highlighted just how strong the interest is coming into Australia and the Games.”

Ms Robinson said the trend was creating new opportunities in areas like broadcasting, sports infrastructure, tourism and sporting event delivery, but also for sport focussed professional services.

Australia hosts established international sporting events including the Australian Grand Prix, Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, and the Australian Tennis Open. Australia has also secured hosting rights to some high profile one-off events such as the Commonwealth Games, the Invictus Games, and the T20 Cricket World Cup.

“Sport is big business globally,” Ms Robinson said. “The region is investing seriously. As disposable income from the region grows, nations are becoming more absorbed in sport. That means more complexity in professional advisory areas and a heightened focus on the legal, financial and governance infrastructure that sits behind sporting organisations and events.

When coupled with the dynamic path forward that sport is taking – the rise in interest in women's sport, like AFLW, and the emergence of new international competitions like the Rugby Tens rugby revolution – it is evident that future opportunities for professional services with strong sporting credentials are abundant.

“There are significant growth opportunities for Australian professional service firms wanting to position themselves as leaders in the Asia-Pacific region,” Ms Robinson said.

“This includes demand from clients seeking to better manage their presence at key sporting events and their involvement with high profile sporting organisations.”

The firm is also the official lawyers of the 2018 Invictus Games to be held in Sydney later this year.


Allianz steps up commitment to Australian para-sport

ALLIANZ Australia has reconfirmed its commitment to Australian para-sport through a new partnership with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) and the Australian Commonwealth Games Team, as well as re-signing with Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).

Allianz has extended its support for the APC to 2021 and is now aligned to the GC2018 Triathlon and the first ever Commonwealth Games Para-triathlon. 

Allianz managing director, Richard Feledy said it was an honour to be supporting Australia’s athletes competing on home soil at GC2018. 

“We are proud to invest in partnerships which reflect inspiration and innovation, which are both an important part of who we are,” Mr Feledy said. “What could be more inspiring than watching our athletes push themselves to the limit?”

“Two of these incredible athletes are Allianz ambassadors, Madison de Rozario and Nic Beveridge,” he said.

“Madison is a three-time Paralympian and a world champion in wheelchair racing, while Nic is an accomplished para-triathlete, having made his Paralympic debut in Rio in 2016.  Both are medal contenders for the Commonwealth Games,” Mr Feledy said. 

Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) chairman, former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said GC2018 was proud to partner with Allianz Australia to champion diversity and inclusion in Australia.

Mr Beattie said GC2018 had  the largest integrated para-sport program in Commonwealth Games history with 38 medal events across seven para-sports.

Mr Feledy said Allianz had a long history of supporting diversity and inclusion.
“Through the APC, and their link with the Australian Commonwealth Games team, Allianz’s support will contribute to training programs and facilities, access to medical equipment, and travel needs for the thousands of athletes and supporters travelling to the Gold Coast for the event.” 

He said Allianz was earlier recognised for its workplace programs by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) for the ninth year running,  and has long been recognised for its support of refugee employment and education through a  partnership with Settlement Services International.

“We hope to continue to grow our understanding, and promote representation, of a richly diverse Australia, and translate that to our customers’ experience,” Mr Feledy said.


AIS launches new mental health in sport division

THE AUSTRALIAN Institute of sport (AIS)  has established the Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement team, led by newly appointed AIS deputy director Matti Clements.

AIS director Peter Conde said as the peak agency for high performance sport in Australia,  it was vital the AIS led the way with the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) by prioritising athlete wellbeing. 

“By establishing the Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement team we are sending a clear message to our athletes and our sports that they are our greatest assets and they matter most to us,” Mr Conde said.

“Mental health and wellbeing is fundamental for any athlete. Proactive measures to promote athlete wellbeing will be an essential focus of this team, assisting sports and athletes to cope with the unique pressures of high performance environments. It’s about supporting athletes as they transition through key moments in their sporting lives and beyond.”

The Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement team will focus on holistic athlete development, including life skills to negotiate the high performance environment, professional development in career and education and activities to assist community engagement and integration.

A former AIS sport psychologist, Ms Clements has returned to the institute after more than 15 years working with Australian professional sporting codes. Ms Clements said she was excited by the advancement in mental health support in sport, but greater emphasis and leadership was still required.

“It’s time for all Australian sport to recognise the importance of athlete mental health in the elite sporting environment and understand the need to support and encourage our great athletes to engage with their communities and in positive life activities outside of training and competing,” Ms Clements said

“There has no doubt been a shift in the understanding of mental health in Australian society and as we talk about it more there is less stigma. But that stigma still exists. Athletes are generally tuned to be strong, fearless and to not show vulnerability, so we need to culturally embed athlete wellbeing in sporting environments.

“For the ASC Board, CEO and the AIS director to understand and support the importance of this area in high performance sport shows international leadership and I am extremely proud to be asked to be part of the new Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement team. It’s an exciting time to be part of elite sport in this country.”


NBA Global Academy launched at AIS

THE American National Basketball Association (NBA) and Basketball Australia (BA) have launched the NBA Global Academy – an elite training centre for Australian and international basketball prospects – at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra. 

AIS director Mat Favier helped launch the NBA Global Academy, which will serve as the NBA’s hub for top male and female prospects from outside the United States. The initial intake will include players from India, Africa, China, Argentina and Australia.

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