Securing support for Women’s Big Bash League is ‘hard work’, admits Cricket Australia

Cricket Australia has admitted it is struggling to attract interest from brands for the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) despite revealing it is close to unveiling a naming rights sponsor for the competition.

anthony everard

Everard: “Sponsorship, generally, is hard work”

Anthony Everard, head of Big Bash League at Cricket Australia, said a deal is close to being finalised but conceded that securing support for women’s cricket has been “hard work”.

Speaking on a panel at the Mumbrella Sports Marketing Summit in Sydney, Everard said Cricket Australia was upbeat about the WBBL following the debut of the women’s competition in December.

Asked if there was appetite from brands to dedicate sponsorship money to the sport, Everard said: “We are finding it hard work. We were pretty excited after the launch of the WBBL but I think we are still battling with the perception of the brand as much as anything.

“The rationale of the WBBL was very strong. It is a national product and had a huge TV audience. It [support] is happening but I think it’s going to take a while.”Cricket Australia Logo 2003

Speaking with Mumbrella on the sidelines of the Summit, Everard revealed C.A., was “weeks away” from unveiling a naming rights sponsor but acknowledged it was a “leap into the unknown” for brands.

“It’s not easy. Sponsorship generally is hard work; sponsorship is hard work with men’s competitions,” he said. “For us, the WBBL is new. It’s a bit of a leap into the unknown and there is a predisposed bias around women’s sport that has been in place for generations.

“We are putting forward a compelling proposition in terms of the value that an association with WBBL presents and the numbers stack up really well. TV audiences are better than a lot of the men’s domestic competitions, but the numbers are not enough in their own right.”KFC-Big-Bash-2015-Schedule-T20-Fixtures-KFC-BBL-Timetable

He said Cricket Australia needs to “pitch the story” to brands and present “qualitative elements” that demonstrate why brands should get involved.

“We need to invest more time in educating stakeholders, and brands, around what the opportunity presents,” Everard said.

“There is a much higher level of education that we need to undertake before we get to the sales pitch. You need to have a different type of conversation than we might otherwise have with the traditional and more established men’s competition.”

Just as it is for Cricket Australia, it is also a “leap into the unknown” for potential sponsors, he added.

“The onus is on us to think about how we have conversations that demonstrate the significant value of the WBBL.”WBBL new team image

Emma Highwood, head of community football development and women’s football at Football Federation Australia, said its own attempts to attract commercial deals were continuing to go well.

“In the past two years we have doubled our commercial revenue in the women’s game,” she said. “It’s been huge, and we’ve done that both for the W-League and The Matildas.”


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