A words of advice kids.
If every you find yourself in a position where by you have the financial clout to sponsor a football stadium and use its naming rights to promote various companies that you own, don’t buy the naming rights to a stadium that doesn’t have a major sporting team as its number one tenant!
That is the position John Singleton has found himself in for the last decade after buying the naming rights to Gosford Stadium. Singleton has used the naming rights to promote various brands but it must go down as a catastrophic waste of money when you consider how few major sporting contests actually get played there.
Of course, Singleton (And many of his employees) for many years pushed the line that Gosford deserved an NRL team of its own. They were even willing to allow the North Sydney Bear bid led by Greg Florimo as a lightening rod to keep the issue in the public spotlight.
I’ve written many times about why Gosford is not a good place to expand to. The last nail in the coffin for their bid came when Nathan Tinkler bought the Newcastle Knights.
This meant that for the NRL to approve “expansion” to Gosford they would somehow need to convince both the Manly Sea Eagles and Newcastle Knights, two privately owned clubs, that it was in their best interests to welcome a competitor on their door steps who would have no room to expand their own operations other than to look at cannibalizing the Sea Eagles and Knights home turn.
They were never going to agree to that.
Now that the ARL has gone cold on expansion in the short term, Singleton will see his naming rights deal with Gosford Stadium run out. Wisely, he will not renew the deal.
He has however put forward the idea that the Newcastle Knights look to play games at the stadium, but even this is a ridiculous idea.
The Knights effectively own their own stadium up in Newcastle. Moving games away from Hunter Stadium as it is called at the moment would mean that they would be paying for the upkeep of a very large stadium in the middle of their catchment area to play games at a stadium with a small capacity. Sure the Knights would probably go close to selling out games at Gosford, but they can get more people into their own home ground. Why would they even consider doing it?
The Manly Sea Eagles might look to move their game against the Knights to Gosford as a way to get more people to the game than they could at their own stadium, but Newcastle don’t need to worry about those problems.
On top of that, who are the Knights going to be losing fans on Gosford to? The only other sporting team there is an A League soccer club, and they play games over the summer. There is a reason no other sports have looked to establish teams in Gosford.
John Singleton may have supported the game in various ways over the years but he made a huge mistake putting any money into the idea that Gosford would ever host an NRL team on a full time basis. If there had not been a stadium built in the area no one at all would even be thinking of the area as a place that could support an NRL team. The stadium does not mean Gosford has other infrastructure a team needs such as a big corporate base or a large unserviced media market.
The presence of the Knights and Sea Eagles were always Gosfords biggest hurdle to overcome. No matter how long Singleton held the naming righsts to Gosford Stadium, that was never going to change.
Link: Sydney Morning Herald – Singo Walks Away From League
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