Inside Athletics

Australia Post renews Stawell Gift sponsorship as Athletics Australia languishes

Organisers of the iconic Stawell Gift have announced the Easter event will enjoy continued naming rights sponsorship from Australia Post.

The renewed two-year deal will ensure that Australia’s richest running carnival enjoys support from Australia Post for its 18th and 19th consecutive years. The move has brought praise from the Victorian government, who injected increased funding into the event this year.

“The support of sponsors such as Australia Post is crucial to ensuring that iconic Australian events including the Stawell Gift can continue to survive and thrive in a very competitive market,” said Hugh Delahunty, Minister for Sports and Recreation.

“Along with the Victorian Government’s election pledge to provide funding through to 2015, it is fantastic that the Stawell Athletic Club can now embark on long term projects which would otherwise not have been possible:”

“This includes attracting Australia’s best athletes and international stars such as Kim Collins and Collins Cheboi who thrilled crowds at this year’s carnival.

“Kim has already expressed his keenness to return to Central Park next year and discussions are also underway with a number of other international stars for the 2012 carnival.”

While the Stawell Gift has consistently maintained sponsorship, no doubt in part due to the professional servicing of its media and sponsorship by leading sports agency Jump Media, the sport at a broader level is in a perilous state. Athletics Australia recently announced details of its declining domestic season, which for the fourth successive year will lack a naming rights sponsor. Telstra previously provided the organisation of sponsorship in excess of $1million per year before choosing not to renew their sponsorship in 2007.

From discussions with key figures within the sport, Inside Athletics understands that the Athletics Australia brand being tainted by continual controversy, a lack of media presence and an out dated domestic season product are among the prohibitive concerns of potential sponsors.

The Adelaide Track Classic, which will be part of this year's Australian Athletics Tour, will not receive any of the anticipated funding from the South Australian government. Athletics Australia had expected an injection of $70,000 to $80,000 in financial support for the event.

Athletics Australia’s major benefactor is the Australian Sports Commission, and if the organisation’s website is anything to go by, they have given up hope on securing a major corporate sponsor: their current sponsorship prospectus is dated November, 2008. [NB: Sponsorship material removed from Athletics Australia website 18/9/11]. See this article for an update on Athletics Australia's sponsorship offering.

The Australia Post Stawell Gift will be held over the Easter long weekend (6-9 April, 2012).