Sports Business

Titans brand re-boot by league titan Jarryd Hayne

THE Aquis Gold Coast Titans’ signing of rugby league champion – and lately American NFL star recruit – Jarryd Hayne until the end of the 2018 season is a brand coup.

Titans CEO, Graham Annesley said Hayne’s signing is the most significant in the club’s 10-year history – and it paid dividends early with record crowds turning out to Hayne’s first Gold Coast game, accompanied by massive media coverage. 

This is a monumental signing for the Titans and we are proud that Jarryd has identified our club as the best fit for him to return to the NRL,” Mr Annesley said.

Hayne, 28, and two-time Dally M Player of the Year, is one of the biggest names in Australian sport and has returned to the NRL after departing the game in 2014 where he made global headlines by joining the San Francisco 49ers NFL team.
“It’s also a fantastic boost for our members, fans, and corporate partners who have loyally stuck with the Titans throughout the clubs rebuilding process,” Mr Annesley said.

“We wouldn’t have been in a position to sign a player of Jarryd’s stature without the critical support of our major sponsors, in particular Aquis as our naming rights partner, and TripADeal who have helped make this signing possible.

“We expect Jarryd’s presence will significantly increase corporate and membership interest which will further boost the clubs’ future commercial prospects.”

Head coach Neil Henry said Hayne will be a great addition to his side and it is a credit to the Titans progress on and off the field that the club has been able to secure such a high-profile player. 

“Jarryd is a fantastic player and he will bring a wealth of experience to our team,” Mr Henry said.
“We are very pleased that he has decided to join the Titans and I look forward to seeing him reproduce the exciting brand of football he is famous for in the NRL.”

Current Titans sponsors, TripADeal, have assisted in securing the signature of Hayne, and are launching their new service PhoneAFlight of which Jarryd Hayne is to become the brand ambassador. 

PhoneAFlight commercial director, Luke O’Dwyer said, “This is an incredibly exciting announcement, and we are proud to be a key part in Jarryd’s return to Australia, the NRL and better yet, to be playing with the Aquis Gold Coast Titans.

“Our business, PhoneAFlight, focuses on providing a quality concierge service to frequent travellers and small to medium size businesses who don’t want to waste valuable time coordinating their travel needs. Having Jarryd aligned with our brand provides us with a fantastic platform to introduce this exciting new concept to Australia,” Mr O’Dwyer said.



Sports directors must focus on ‘integrity’ issues

INTEGRITY issues are creating some of the biggest challenges for Australian sports administrators – and directors of sporting oeganisations are being urged to get up to speed fast. The consequences of overlooking these issues has already caused the downfall of several sports clubs.

To assist, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) has published a document titled Integrity Guidelines for Directors and Leaders of Sporting Organisations. However, legal specialist in the area, John Mullins of Mullins Law, has warned that too may sports administrators are not taking precautionary measures against integrity challenges that may face their organisations.

There have been the high profile Essendon and Parramatta football drug cheating sagas right through to illicit drug problems with high profile players. Also rocking sports codes has been criminal convictions for match fixing; sports aspects of the the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse; and cases relating to member protection and behaviour of participants – including parents, staff  and coaches – in amateur as well as professional sport

 “It is somewhat ironic that these integrity guidelines have been published at around the same time as the Parramatta saga appears to be going from bad to worse, certainly from the point of view of the involvement of the board,” Mr Mullins said.

“The document is an interesting one because whilst it’s called guidelines, it’s actually not. It encourages directors: ‘to achieve appropriate oversight of their organisation’s integrity framework and ensure their responsibilities as a director are fully discharged. Individual directors must fully inform themselves of the organisation’s integrity practices’.”

Mr Mullins said the paper also lists a large number of questions, aimed at helping directors to answer questions that may come their way or to seek early answers within their organisations.

“These questions are listed under the headings of General, Sports Science, Sports Medicine, Anti-Doping, Illicit Drugs, Match Fixing, Member Protection and Child Protection,” Mr Mullins said.

“All sport watchers will quickly recognise that these specific headings are areas which have been in the headlines considerably over the last 12 months.”

He recommended that those involved in sports administration, or with any interest in that area, take a close look at the document.

“As I said, it poses questions, it doesn’t provide answers,” Mr Mullins said. “But it gives an insight into the challenges for sporting organisations and the length and breadth of the steps that need to be taken by organisations to ensure that they meet high levels of integrity.

“Frankly, these are big issues and without significant resources being allocated to them very little improvement will occur. Whilst raising the issue is important and valuable, it doesn’t provide the answers as to how sport is going to address all of these challenges.”

Mr Mullins said it would be interesting to see how sports bodies in general respond to the ASC on these issues.

“Previously with governance principles, the ASC initially sent out a set of principles and then, for the larger sports, these principles became mandatory principles,” he said, pointing out that following the principles was vital if administrators wanted to continue receiving ASC funding.

“It will be interesting to see what direction the ASC goes in relation to these integrity guidelines, as it seems to be becoming clearer and clearer that for many organisations there is a lot of room for improvement.”

The paper can be accessed via the Ausport website.


Giving franchisees a sporting chance


SPORTS people – applying the discipline and high-performance principles they have learned over many years – are likely to become some of the most successful major brand franchisees in Australia.

That is one of the peak trends gleaned from the Asia-Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence’s latest Franchise Australia Report, produced in conjunction with the Franchising Council of Australia. 

The challenge of recruiting quality franchisees is an ongoing concern for the sector and the report recommends franchisors develop a pro-active game plan that explores long-term engagement of target groups – with sports people strongly identified – to get the best possible people on board for their businesses.

The 2015 Franchise Australia Report, showed 72 percent of franchisors saw the availability of suitable franchisees as an impediment to growth.

The report outlined that the characteristics that make people excel in sport are readily transferable to franchising – and high on the agenda are those team sports that are built on a highly inclusive team culture.

The report outlined how discipline, work ethic, following systems and structures, working in teams to achieve shared goals, leadership and a never-quit attitude that were the building blocks of success on the sporting field were equally so in the world of franchising.

“Targeting professional ‘team based’ sportspeople who are usually highly paid and want to  invest in a business that will potentially set them up for life after their sporting career ends, makes real sense,” the report outlined.

Research also showed how the ‘problem’ of athletes wanting to ‘retire’ from sport in their 30s was often an ideal era of maturity for someone entering a franchise that suited their business ambitions.

The report urges franchisors to ‘think outside the square’ about their recruitment targets.

“Franchisors should be looking at ways to actively target and create genuine pathways for engagement with these groups as part of their overall recruitment strategies,” an Asia-Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence spokesperson said.

“You need a recruitment game plan for the long term and you have to be on the front foot and put yourself out there to attract the most suited people to not only grow your franchise network by numbers, by also in terms of culture.

“The general appeal to franchisors of getting sportspeople on board is easy to see, given the traits this group offers.”

For example, when it recently secured a former Socceroo and an NRL player to its franchisee team, Aussie Home Loans highlighted the attraction by declaring: “Sportspeople are a great fit culturally as they bring commitment, passion and dedication to our customers, like they have in their previous careers”.

So far, according to the report, food, retail and finance-related franchise brands seem to have captured the most attention from former sportspeople. This is natural as their sporting careers had taught them the value of a strong brand, and how to combine their own personal brand with that of their club – or in this case franchise – for maximum public impact.

“For this reason, many sportspeople also act as brand ambassadors for the franchise brand that they will potentially join,” a centre spokesperson said. “Their financial resources, relatively young age, and desire to establish a substantial business they can oversee in their post-sporting career, can also make them attractive candidates for multi-site franchise ownership.”

One example is the Red Rock Noodle Bar franchise, which has formed a strong relationship with Corey Parker, a current high-profile rugby league player for the Brisbane Broncos, Queensland State Of Origin team and the Australian Kangaroos. Red Rock has 10 outlets in South East Queensland.

Corey Parker is still an active player in his 30s and, heading towards the back-end of his sporting career, has been a brand ambassador for Red Rock Noodle Bar for the past four years, featuring in the company’s advertising, store promotions and product launches.

“Corey was looking to get involved in the business side of things later in his sporting career and he has been a good fit for us in boosting our public profile,” Red Rock managing director Phil Colburn told the Asia-Pacific Centre for Franchising Excellence. While Mr Parker is not yet a franchisee, Mr Colburn said the promotional relationship has generated positive flow-on benefits for future franchisee recruitment.

“He does not own a franchise, but we have had discussions with him and also with people in his network if we expand into new markets. It does open doors and gives us a leg-up with networking and introductions to his club, teammates and sponsors.

“We have had many conversations, including on franchise ownership, with his friends, associates and contacts.”

Mr Colburn confirmed the centre’s view that sportspeople were an attractive target group for potential franchisee recruitment due to the similarities in sporting and franchise teams.

“Sporting teams are run by coaches and as franchisors we are coaches too,” he said. “They are used to being in that environment, following systems and having a coach guide them, which is just like franchising.

“As sportspeople get towards the end of their sporting careers, they do start planning for the future. Most have never owned a business before, so franchising can be an attractive option to them. For franchisors, it is about getting a foot in the door and building relationships with players and teams through things like ambassadorships and sponsorships.”

The report’s advice to franchisors is to develop more contacts in the sporting world with a view to getting the best quality franchisees on board.

“At the end of the day, it is all about contacts and timing in getting the best people on board. As a franchisor, you have to put yourself out there and the benefits of building relationships with sportspeople are in networking and introductions to a whole new field of contacts.”



Hog’s Breath backs women’s cycling

HOG’S BREATH Café is getting behind women’s cycling, backing a new team that combines established and novice racers on a steep learning curve.

The team includes champion ironwoman Hayley Bateup, elite road cyclists Lauren Kitchen and Deborah Hennessey, and three ‘young hotshots’ Jena Grimsey, Sarah Mills, and Laura Renshaw. 

The newly-created Hog’s Breath Cafe Tineli Women’s Race Team is training under leading Australian cycling coach, Kurt Polock, and will compete in the 2016 Subaru National Road Series, “with the full grunt of Hog’s Breath support,” according to Hog’s Breath general manager, Ross Worth.

Mr Worth said the Aussie steakhouse promotes and encourages an active lifestyle and over the past 25 years has been “always on the lookout for sports, teams, and community events to support”.

“Team sports are one of the most enjoyable ways to stay fit so we couldn’t be more excited to get the girls on board and ‘hoggify’ the cycling scene,” Mr Worth said.

Mr Polock said, “This is a team of champions sure to bring home the bacon, with an end goal of Hog’s Breath Tineli Women’s Race Team becoming Australia’s leading cycling team.”

The girls donned their new Hog’s Breath-adorned Lycra and tackled their first elite women’s race of 2016, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.  The team came in sixth overall and Lauren Kitchen finished with an individual fifth place in a field of 135.

The Cadel Evans race has UCI status, making it part of the World Tour for professional female cyclists, and points from the race go towards selection for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.






Pictured after the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race are (from left) Sara Mills, Deborah Hennessey, guest rider Julie Leth and Lauren Kitchen.


Jetts into Thailand

AUSTRALIAN round-the-clock gym, Jetts, has opened its first site in Bangkok, Thailand.

It is the only Australian gym brand in Thailand and plans are to open several more in 2016, according to Jetts founder and managing director, Brendon Levenson. 

Thailand is a significant milestone for the group, which already boasts more than 270 gyms across Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands since launching on the Gold Coast in 2007.

Mr Levenson said Thailand was experiencing a growth in its economy, which has placed higher demand for quality fitness services built around convenience and flexibility.

“Thailand is currently witnessing tremendous growth in its middle class segment, bringing with it a demand for fitness services such as gym memberships and personal training,” Mr Levenson said.

“This growth presents great opportunities for our brand, with locals increasingly looking for more convenient fitness options. The combination of our 24-7 access and no lock-in contracts, alongside our Aussie brand, has been a big driver of new sales within the first gym.

“Australia’s focus on healthy living and an active lifestyle holds us in high regard internationally. We’re seeing that consumers in other markets really aspire to this concept, and will embrace the Jetts’ philosophy.”

 “The Asian market, particularly Thailand, is still very much in its infancy but growing fast,” Mr Levenson said.

“The chains that dominate are charging high fees and focusing on locking their members into 12 and even 18 month contracts. We simply don’t believe that model is the best for members and instead, aim to provide more people with the freedom of choice when it comes to joining a gym.”


AIS Canberra to showcase Australia’s emerging sports technology industry

AUSTRALIA’s best sports technology innovations will be on show at the inaugural Australian Sports Technologies Industry Showcase and Executive Lunch to be held at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra on Friday November 13, 2015.

Led by the Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN) the event will celebrate what is happening in Australia’s emerging sports technology industry and continue to build the connections required to further develop the sector. Supported by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC), the ACT Government and global advisory firm, PwC the event will bring together leaders in sport, innovation, government and the trade and investment community. 

A Showcase of up to 40 Australian-inspired sports technologies will be open free to the general public on the day. The Showcase will demonstrate the breadth of the industry that features innovations in performance wear, protective wear, sports equipment, stadium/venue technologies, wearable technologies, sports analytics, nutrition and sport digital solutions.

The Showcase will be complimented by a series of other sessions throughout the day including an Executive Lunch which will include panels and keynotes from industry leaders, AIS / ASC briefings and AIS tours. Prizes valued at around $40,000 will also be awarded at the Lunch as part of the ASTN’s annual investment pitching competition. This year’s competition also includes an ACT Government Sports Tech Business Excellence Award and a New Innovator’s Award .

The event is part of a suite of programs and initiatives led by the ASTN to support the development of the industry and leverage Australia’s outstanding global sporting reputation. The global sports market is valued at more than $US 500 billion per annum.

To register to attend the Executive Lunch (and other associated activities) at $80 per person:

To apply to Exhibit at the Showcase @ $200 per organisation:

To enter the 4th Annual Sports Tech Investment Pitching Competition:

Friday 13 November 2015 - AIS Arena, Canberra

10:00am-11:30am – Sports Tech Exhibition – a showcase of up 40 Australian sports technologies (open free to general public) 

11:30am – 12:15pm – ASC / AIS Briefing - Innovation, technology & commercialisation agenda (Exhibitor’s and lunch delegates only)

12:15pm – 12:40pm – Guided tour of Exhibition / Networking - Executive Lunch delegates

12:40pm – 2:15pm - Executive Lunch – keynote, panel and investment pitching winners

2:15pm – 3:30pm – Sports Tech Exhibition – a showcase of up 40 Australian sports technologies (open free to general public)

2:15pm – 4:00pm – AIS Interactive Tours – guided interactive tour of AIS facilities leaders at the AIS (Exhibitor’s and lunch delegates only)

Join Australia's Strongest Sports Tech Team. Become a Member Today


Coates on for Coolangatta Gold

AUSTRALIA’s most iconic surf sports endurance race will now be known as the Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold in a landmark sports marketing naming rights deal.

The new three-year partnership links Australia’s largest equipment hire company, Coates Hire, which has most notably marketed through motor sport, with an event that continues to challenge the world’s most elite surf sports athletes, 31 years after its inception. 

“The Coolangatta Gold is the perfect fit for Coates Hire,” the company’s chief executive officer Michael Byrne said. “It’s such an iconic Australian event and we are very proud and privileged to be the naming rights partner for the next three years.

 “Our new partnership with Surf Life Saving Australia has very close alignment to the areas we are focusing on as a business – safety and community,” he said.

“The sponsorship also enables Coates Hire to showcase our ability to provide equipment and event services in a challenging logistical environment, with multiple sites over a broad area needing to be built and then removed over a relatively short time – let’s just say I’m looking forward to the Gold Coast turning to more of a bright orange this October.”

The Coolangatta Gold was launched in 1984 as the concept for a movie script of the same name. Since then, surf lifesaving luminaries such as Guy Leech, Darren Mercer, Caine Eckstein, Ali Day, Hayley Bateup, Courtney Hancock (pictured right) and two-time defending open women’s champion Liz Pluimers (who won the event for the tird time in 2015) have tasted success on the 42km course.

In 2015, the categories for the Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold short-course will be expanded to include a ‘mates wave’ initiative. The Mates Wave will give athletes the chance to engage in head-to-head duels with their friends or colleagues, regardless of age or gender.

This has also been tailored as the perfect opportunity for corporate challenges, said Surf Life Saving Australia president, Graham Ford.

Mr Ford welcomed Coates Hire’s backing and said the new partnership would help broaden the profile and legacy of one of the most iconic events on Australia’s sporting calendar.

“There is a synergy between the two organisations and it makes sense for Australia’s largest equipment hire company to team with Australia’s largest volunteer movement of its kind,” Mr Ford said.

“Coates Hire is known for its reliability, performance, energy and detailed planning in everything it does. They are key traits for anyone thinking about taking on an event like the Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold, be it athletes or our valuable partners.

“There are exciting times ahead for Surf Life Saving in our delivery of sport and events and ultimately doing what we do best, keeping our beaches safe. We are thrilled to have Coates Hire joining and assisting us on that journey.”

The partnership also installs Coates Hire as the exclusive supplier of hire equipment and event infrastructure for both the Coates Hire Coolangatta Gold and The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, to be held on the Sunshine Coast in April 2016.

The Coolangatta Gold was staged on October 10 and 11 in 2015 and for the first time in tis history won by each of the reigning Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman Series champions, Ali Day and Liz Pluimers.


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