Barely 24 hours after the Melbourne Stars’ Big Bash cricket team was left without a main sponsor in the wake of the collapse of retailer Dick Smith, Optus has rushed to the rescue, signing a 2.5 year deal to back the team.
In what may be one of the most extraordinary turnarounds in Australian sponsorship history, Optus moved quickly to capitalise on the sudden vacancy, making sure it was a long-term deal.
The Stars will be listed as a creditor of Dick Smith Holdings, meaning the sponsorship was immediately cancelled when the business went into receivership.
However, despite the shock of the loss of Dick Smith, the Stars were coming off a weekend where they hosted a record crowd of more than 80,000 people at the MCG, placing them in a strong position when they began the hunt for a new sponsor on Monday.
A spokesperson for the team said there were a number of expressions of interest from sponsors following news of the vacancy breaking, however, Optus came forward with a long-term commitment.
The telco has proved an aggressive mover in the sports market in recent months, taking the rights to deliver digital broadcasts of live games and exclusive content to its subscribers.
It also shocked the broadcasting world last year when it gazumped Fox Sports to win the broadcast rights to the English Premier League.