Contributed by: Brett Northey
In today's article on preparations for the Australian Football International Cup (also often referred to as the AFL International Cup or de facto Aussie Rules World Cup) we start to look at support such as transport and apparel for the competing nations.
Obviously the costs for teams will once again be large, getting 30 to 40 players and officials to Australia. In 2002 and 2005, total costs of around AUD$100,000 per country were typical. It is usual at amateur carnivals for the players to mostly fund themselves, through fundraisers back home and out of their own pocket. But with the AFL hosting the tournament, we have the unusual situation of a professional body and amateur participants. This leads to an expectation in some quarters that the AFL should finance the majority of the event. Whilst the AFL is taking on all running costs, the players and leagues are expected to fund most of their own travel and "on the ground costs". However it can be argued that the AFL should seek to offset as many costs as possible, particularly given it will want the event to be the best possible showcase for international footy.
One concern related to us was costs such as transport to and from the regional rounds in Warrnambool, as apparently the teams were looking at covering that themselves. For the 2005 Cup in Wangaratta, V-Line trains sponsored the country round, providing free transport to the players. We put this to the AFL a few weeks ago and were pleased to hear that a deal was being worked on. Hopefully we'll have the final details for you soon.
Of course the biggest single expense is air fares. If there was one area the AFL could fix that would make a large difference to the teams it would be succeeding in getting flights covered or at least major discounts. At last check their negotiations with Qantas had yielded a group travel discount available to most countries - we'll be following up with a few nations to see if they are finding that deal beneficial.
And surely a naming rights sponsor for the International Cup could or should be secured. The tournament has its own news section on the AFL website, it receives constant attention on sites such as worldfootynews.com, footy forums and international league websites, and has been mentioned numerous times in the mainstream media such as Melbourne newspapers with Kevin Sheedy just one of several who have given the event multiple plugs. As it draws closer the hype should increase, and more articles online and probably the AFL's Record are likely. One would think that all that publicity would make naming rights sponsorship an attractive opportunity at the right price. We've asked the AFL if they are actively pursuing this issue to offset the competing nations' considerable costs. We're told that "discussions are underway with [the AFL's] CommOps [Commercial Operations] regarding sponsorship opportunities". Hopefully something substantial will come of it.
Also coming on board are Burley Sekem, who the AFL approached to put together a package for competing nations. Sekem's offer is as follows (including their own advertising pre-amble, not ours). We believe all countries have received this offer (and the first one we contacted though it was a good deal worth pursuing), but if not Sekem can be contacted through their website or we have their direct details.
Burley Sekem, the original pioneer of international expansion for our great game, is now offering nations participating in the 2008 International Cup a special offer on playing apparel not to be missed.
For all orders confirmed prior to May 15th, Burley Sekem are happy to offer the following discounted offer that is sure to ease the financial strain of making the trip to Australia:
20 Sekem Coolflo Playing Guernseys (custom made or generic)
20 Sekem Football Shorts (10 colours available)
20 Sekem Stock Socks (All AFL, NRL, WAFL, SANFL teams available)
All Artwork setup charges FREE
FOR JUST $1,100 AUD!!
Offer excludes overseas freight
This superb offer is never to be repeated. Please contact Sekem’s International Sales Department.
World Footy News