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Reds fire back after NT dumps deal

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Adelaide United was “pressured” to play A-League matches in the Northern Territory but chairman Greg Griffin says the club “refused to do it simply because you can’t take games away from South Australia”.

The NT Government has ditched its $150,000 annual sponsorship of the Reds, after the existing two-year deal expired last month.

Territory Sport and Recreation Minister Gary Higgins said while “there has been some good work in the NT by Adelaide United…Government should always look at such agreements with an eye for local context”.

“It’s about best positioning the sport to capitalise on national and potentially international partnerships,” he said.

Griffin told InDaily United had been “a terrific party for them to sponsor in terms of the coverage we gave them and the input we put in”, insisting the Government would need to “stump up four times the money” to attract similar A-League talent in future.

He said the deal was essentially “divided into two”, with a shirt sponsorship delivering “clear profit” for the Reds, but combined with another element, “which was us playing games, developing football, running clinics, co-funding development in Alice Springs”.

“The Rec. and Sport sponsorship in reality was about being corporate citizens and we put a lot of effort and time into that…basically everything we got we put back into it,” he said.

“Their return on that investment was unbelievable…there was virtually no profit for us at all.”

Griffin said “there was a push that we shouldn’t play Melbourne Victory at Adelaide Oval and we should play someone in Darwin”, but insisted: “That wasn’t going to happen.”

“There aren’t facilities in Darwin at the time we’d want to go to play an A-League game,” he said.

“You can’t play in Alice Springs because the maximum crowd they could fit was 2-3000. (In) Darwin you have competing uses…you’ve got pitch issues and you’ve got the sheer cost of taking an A-League game from Adelaide to Darwin.”

The bitter pill in the NT’s withdrawal is its ongoing sponsorship arrangements with the Parramatta Eels NRL team and the Melbourne Demons in the AFL.

“They seem to think that we would do it for the love of the game…everyone else got paid seven figures,” said Griffin.

“If you want to pay us seven figures we’ll talk about it – until then, no.”

He said United had “hosted” Melbourne City for pre-season games two years in a row “but that’s now gone”.

“Melbourne City aren’t going to come without Adelaide United…that was because of the relationship between us and Melbourne City,” he said.

“I don’t think there’ll be any more A-League (teams) playing in Darwin unless they adopt a completely new model.”

 

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