‘Disappointed’ Knights sponsors to review deals with embattled club

Key sponsors of the Newcastle Knights, including McDonald’s and Bluetongue beer are reviewing their relationship with the embattled rugby league club.  

It comes in response to a second Knights player, Chris Houston, charged with supplying drugs. It follows a similar charge made against former teammate Danny Wicks.

The club’s sponsors include McDonald’s, Energy Australia, Coal & Allied, NIB health insurance, Bluetongue beer and NBN.

Coal & Allied is the naming rights sponsor for the club. The three-year agreement is due to expire at the end of this year with an option to extend for an additional year.

A spokeswoman for the company said a decision on whether it would take that option is yet to be made, but declined to comment further.

A McDonald’s spokeswoman told Mumbrella that it was now reviewing its sponsorship agreement with the Knights, while in a statement Bluetongue said it is “extremely disappointed by recent developments at the Newcastle Knights and is currently reviewing our sponsorship with the club”.

Also in a statment, Energy Australia said it had asked the club to provide information outlining the steps it had taken to ensure players were complying with its code of conduct.

Energy Australia said: “We have also asked for documentation that shows steps taken to remind all Knights representatives of their obligations to the club, its members and sponsors, and the wider community. As a major sponsor, we are deeply disappointed by events that have unfolded in recent months.

“We will be closely monitoring the progress of these matters, and the club’s response to the information requested by Energy Australia, before any decision is made on the future of our sponsorship.”

An NIB spokesman said it was concerned about the “potential by association, for reputation damage to the NIB brand”.

“We eagerly await evidence that the Club has taken action to fix the situation and prevent any further reputation damage,” the NIB spokesman said.


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