Online Bookies cast shadow over Eels sponsorship

Published 20 November 2013

rugbyballThe University of New England is reviewing its sponsorship contract with the Parramatta Eels, after the Rugby League Club announced they would be wearing the logo of an online bookmaker on the field next season.

UNE Chief Operating Officer David Cushway says UNE remains in negotiations with the Eels about other ways UNE can maintain a connection with the club.

“UNE is closely linked to the people of New England, of Western Sydney with our future campus in Parramatta and our online student community. We share the values of all those communities in recognising the social harm gambling brings.

“Plenty of people who cheer the Eels will also know the pain that gambling means to families and chronic gamblers. Having UNE’s brand displayed alongside an online bookie with similar colours and a similar name definitely sends the wrong message to fans of the Eels and fans of UNE.

“Certainly our sponsorship with the Parramatta Eels over the past couple of seasons has been good for both UNE and the club, so now we have to look carefully to see if there is any potential to continue our arrangement in some way.”

Mr Cushway says UNE will also look at other sporting sponsorship opportunities across Australia.

He says sharing brand space with an online gambling organisation, simply does not fit with values the University of New England represents.

“The bottom line is that online gambling isn’t a good fit alongside a University which has most of our students studying online, this company also has a name and logo which is simply too close to the UNE brand and could potentially create confusion.

“UNE is careful in the way we present and protect our brand, sharing space with an on-line bookmaker simply looks like a bad bet to us.”