Souths are heading here for two more years.
Souths are heading here for two more years.

Council stays with Rabbitohs

THE vote was secret but the result was in favour.

Coffs Harbour councillors moved into a confidential session at the end of Thursday’s council meeting to consider continuing the South Sydney Rabbitohs sponsorship which has proved a controversial investment for the city.

Mayor Keith Rhoades said the discussion was moved behind closed doors because it involved matters of a ‘commercial, in-confidence nature regarding South Sydney Football Club’.

“There are a few things coming up. The State Cup will hopefully start in 2012,” Cr Rhoades said.

“But (the sponsorship) is part of council’s ongoing commitment to help promote and inject dollars into local events through Souths coming to Coffs Harbour, which in turn provides economic benefits.”

The last sponsorship agreement with Souths, which ended on February 19 with the pre-season NRL game, played a part in the council gaining funding for a $2.2 million lights upgrade of BCU

Stadium from the Federal Government.

The sponsorship, which involved the Rabbitohs providing a range of community and social activities around

NAIDOC Week, the Grace Roberts Award, school coaching clinics and jail visits, has cost the council more than $200,000 a year in direct and indirect outgoings to the South Sydney Football Club and related parties.

The new agreement, which is for two years rather than the previous three years, is the result of a series of proposals and counter-proposals between the Rabbitohs and the council and provides for a smaller direct cash contribution but other benefits.

Under the new agreement, South Sydney will come to Coffs Harbour for one full team trip per year rather than two as in previous years; appearances outside the trip will be four to six, and involve a total of 12 players; and there is an increased emphasis on tourism marketing.

The new sponsorship agreement, which will come into force immediately, has built into it the requirement for Souths to provide an annual performance report on the agreed activities and the cash sponsorship is split into two payments.

The second payment is dependent on the council being satisfied with the performance report.

The key elements covered in the sponsorship proposal are:

• Direct cash contribution.

• Coverage of accommodation, meals and transport costs while visiting Coffs Harbour.

• Pre-season trial match.

• Signage.

• Match day partnership.

• Branding at home games and on SSFC website and other areas use for publicity.

• 12 player appearances.

• Naming rights to Rabbitohs’ Game Day trivia.

• Website and South Sydney media access.

• General sponsorship including tickets to home games.

• Invitations to the season launch.

The sponsorship is part of council’s ongoing commitment to help promote and inject dollars into local events



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