Negative noise has side effect of fuelling public interest, says Cricket Australia marketing boss

“It’s not always such a bad thing to get negative press.”

The publicity around sports scandals can actually help sporting codes get better rights deals with broadcasters because they generate interest, the man in charge of marketing for Cricket Australia believes.

Speaking at last night’s Meet the Marketers event organised in Melbourne by Mumbrella, Ben Amarfio – executive GM of marketing, digital and communications for Cricket Australia – said that sometimes it was possible to be too concerned about negative publicity.

He said: “In the last 12 months, the NRL has had players assault women, players assault policemen, they’ve had drug, corruption and match fixing issues – the list goes on and on. And yet they’ve just signed a TV deal for over $1bn, which is almost 50% bigger than their last TV deal.”

The AFL has had similar issues, he said. “But despite the noise that’s been created in the media, even though it’s negative, it actually creates a lot more interest in your brand and your sport.”

Amarfio’s comments came as doping allegations rocked both the NRL and AFL.

“It’s a huge story. But I guarantee that this story will prompt a lot of interest, and generate a lot of discussion and debate around sport,” he said.

“It’s not always such a bad thing to get negative press.”

He qualified his comments, saying: “I only worry about it, when it gets to the stage where people are saying we’re immoral or doing something illegal, then that’s where you worry as a marketer.”


  1. Rebecca
    8 Feb 13
    11:35 am

  2. So no matter what they do, it’s ok because of telly rights. Fantastic.

  3. Mike
    8 Feb 13
    11:39 am

  4. So, sport’s a big soap opera according to Amarfio? It’s a good thing, right? AFL attendances will shrink this year just like last. All because the sport is not as attractive to watch and the WWE-style management of the game is becoming one protracted yawn.

  5. Sharon
    8 Feb 13
    1:39 pm

  6. Sorry, but isn’t assaulting women and taking performance enhancing drugs or Class A drugs imoral and illegal? But sport and its supporters endures….could this perhaps be a male, boys club thing? Personnally am always looking for the movie channel on a sport clogged TV weekend….

  7. Dan
    8 Feb 13
    1:44 pm

  8. So taking illegal drugs and match fixing isn’t “immoral or doing something illegal”?

  9. Roger Ramjet
    8 Feb 13
    2:01 pm

  10. These sorts of statements underline the fact that the subset of Marketers who are also Brain Surgeons is very small.

  11. Bill P
    8 Feb 13
    2:31 pm

  12. I’m pretty sure we already knew this. Watching Shane Warne clash with Marlon Samuels at the MCG and the following swarming news reports and articles, only illustrates that sporting incidents are profitable. A lot of people wouldn’t have even known about that match if it wasn’t for the news about Warne’s dummy spit.

    If something is profitable, it can and will be orchestrated, encouraged, or viewed as positive by the business.

    It’s also worth remembering that outlets like channel seven news, use such footage to promote their own programs. For example, the Sharne Warne footage played with dramatic music over the top, and some catchy line about seeing it first on seven sport or whatever. For the most part, viewers like it too, so it really is a win win. It’s a risky win win however, because you don’t want to turn people off the sport or ruin anyone’s career. A $5000 slap on writs fine for Warne is completely fine however, and perhaps he claimed it back for helping promote the match nobody knew about.

    Car crashes in racing is another example. Nobody wants the cars to crash in spectacular fashion…. or do they?

  13. Tony J
    8 Feb 13
    3:04 pm

  14. yes, but the marketing manager of car racing doesnt make a specch saying crashes are good for business. Cricket Australia must be utterly embarrassed by this foolishness

  15. Lance Armstrong
    8 Feb 13
    3:51 pm

  16. I agree with Ben.

    Winning is the only thing.

    Morality, values and sportsmanship are a hinderance to getting that pay day.

    I could be a great brand ambassador for CA.

    Love ya work!

  17. timely
    8 Feb 13
    5:47 pm

  18. @Ton J – agreed entirely. Not all news is good news, particularly when it borders on the illegal. To then somehow propose there’s a benefit is at once unprofessional, poorly thought through and a recipe for long term disaster. Pretty junior stuff from an allegedly senior marketer.

  19. Ben
    9 Feb 13
    4:53 am

  20. All publicity is good publicity :-)

  21. The Judge
    10 Feb 13
    9:27 am

  22. Grossly stupid and embarrassing.

  23. KB
    19 Feb 13
    1:23 pm

  24. Sounds like Ben Amarfio and Cricket Australia need a chat with someone like Catherine Lumby.