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Sponsorship update: Cricket Australia 1 Queensland Cricket 0

Submitted by rickeyre on February 9, 2007 - 9:06pm

So who's a pretty bully boy then?

While Cricket Australia was crying foul over the world cup organisers' objection to their choice of sponsor, they had the boot on the other foot getting stuck into Queensland Cricket over a very similar issue.

Queensland Cricket has, since 1993, had a sponsorship deal with Castlemaine Perkins (a subsidiary of Lion Nathan Ltd), through its XXXX brand of beer, for signage at the Gabba and other grounds where major cricket is played in the state.

Lion Nathan is one of the "big two" brewing companies in Australia. The Foster's Group is the other. As well as brewing the eponymous swill that is passed off to foreigners as typical Aussie beer, Foster's also produce Victorian Bitter and Crown Lager, among others.

For the 2006-07 season, the XXX signage was even more provocative, publicising "XXXX Gold Beach Cricket" - not just a rival to Cricket Australia's beer, but a competition to, allegedly, rival Cricket Australia's cricket!

Through January, a tense standoff ensued between Cricket Australia and Queensland Cricket, with CA threatening to remove the Gabba from the international calendar for 2007-08 if they continue to display signage advertising the Anti-Fosters.

Finally, the Queenslanders backed down. There will be no XXXX signage at the Gabba next season, and Castlemaine Perkins will be compensated by Queensland Cricket accordingly.

The joint press released issued by Queensland Cricket and Castlemaine Perkins can be seen here. While spin is spin is spin, I think the following quote from Queensland Cricket CEO Graham Dixon is pertinent:

"It is difficult to imagine how a company which has backed cricket in this State to the tune of $10 million over a period of more than 13 years and has iron-clad legal entitlements to display signage at the home of the game in Queensland could be accused of ambush marketing."

This, remember, was unfolding as CA was waiting for its disputes resolution committee hearing over Travelex.