Ten’s financial strife ‘not ideal’ for KFC T20 sponsorship, says PRISM’s chairman

Ten’s financial troubles, resulting in the network going into administration, are “not ideal” and causing “some concern” according to KFC’s sponsorship agency, PRISM.

Justin Ricketts, PRISM Australia New Zealand chairman has said he would prefer to see “two healthy broadcasters” continuing to re-invest in cricket and have some certainty during planning.

Ricketts addressing the audience at Mumbrella’s Sports Marketing Summit

The comments come after Ten announced it had gone into voluntary administration, two months after CEO Paul Anderson reported a $232.2m loss in its half-year financial results.

Ricketts told audience at Mumbrella’s Sports Marketing Summit: “Yes there’s some concern, [but] contractually no.

“We entered into our latest re-negotiation knowing there were some uncertainty around broadcast so in terms of our contractual rights, we’ve got triggers and the ability to recalibrate and re-assess if the situation changes rapidly.”

“Our view is we’ve enjoyed it, whilst it’s cost money, we’ve enjoyed having two broadcasters that we work with. It helps us segment the two forms of cricket that we get behind.

“Obviously, we would prefer to see two healthy broadcasters continue to invest in the game and  a bit of certainty as we go to planning as well.”

Sally Spriggs, marketing director for group meals at KFC added the brand was incredibly reliant on free-to-air television. 

“It comes with the territory of live sport and media just does and we’ve got it [concerns] in other aspects of what we do as well.

“We are very reliant on free-to-air television as a brand and so it’s not only unique to cricket, it’s in other aspects but you have to work through it and we heard a lot this morning about live sport and free-to-air television. It’s going to stay in its mass in some form, and we will run with it as it evolves.”

Spriggs: “We will run with it as it evolves”

Earlier on in the session, Ricketts acknowledged KFC had been brave in choosing T20 as its asset for sponsorship.

“In hindsight, you’d think that was pretty obvious. T20 is 100% right, it’s massive. Back 10 years ago, T20 wasn’t what it is now so the brand was willing to take a huge risk and actually back something that wasn’t yet proven and it’s by getting in early with something like T20 that I think is one of the many reasons they have that really strong association they have today.

“We are now through our fourth round of renewals and renegotiations and every time we come to that, we’ve had a very collaborative ongoing discussions with Cricket Australia in terms of how our objectives have changed, how our audience might have changed, and how we needed to recalibrate our assets and investment as our collective properties and objectives have changed,” he explained.

He added a collaborative agency roster and a clear brief, were also key components of the sponsorship’s success.

“We are most successful in getting to a great engagement idea when a number of specialist agencies stay in their specialist swim lanes and collaborate together to get to a better idea, rather than one agency becoming a generic agency and trying to crack everything,” he said.

“In the case of KFC, there’s a very strong longstanding sort of agency roster with Ogilvy and MediaCom, their packaging company and PRISM.”

Spriggs added: “The fans now own the Bucketheads. They do what they want with the Bucketheads. They make armour out of them, they individualise it and that’s what is truly adding to the sport when you know a brand can be part of that.”

A study, which was presented at Sports Marketing Summit revealed some sports are beginning to suffer after choosing the pay TV route, saying that such a move was excluding 70% of the potential audience.


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