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Under Armour and Sydney FC forge an exciting new partnership and the kit looks impressive

Football kit is big business. With hundreds of millions of units sold each and every year, it is no wonder that sports clothing and accessory brands align themselves with teams; seeking mutually beneficial partnerships across the globe.

In fact, total sports sponsorship looks likely to surpass US$65 billion in 2019, with football accounting for a significant piece of that pie.

The corporate investment is considerable, yet the return lucrative. Presenting and marketing a fashionable, successful and elite face to a sporting public craving connection and relationship with its sports stars is marketing 101.

For the sportswear industries’ heaviest hitters, football teams are an important arm of their corporate strategy and vision.

Despite its relatively innocuous size when compared to major football leagues around the world, there is still much value in forging corporate partnerships with Australia’s A-League franchises.

That fact has not escaped the U.S based footwear, apparel and accessory giant Under Armour. From humble origins, the company has become an industry leader and its iconic corporate symbol will now adorn the kit of one of Australia’s most successful clubs.

Reigning A-League and W-League champion Sydney FC launched its 2019/20 kit in style last week and for the first time, the designs are provided by Under Armour; a new player on the A-League scene.

The deal is a major coup for the Sky Blues yet also a clear statement of intention from Under Armour; obviously looking to broaden its reach internationally.

The launch took place with all the glitz and glamour that Australia’s biggest City usually provides and its most successful football club celebrated the new association with a cruise on Sydney Harbour.

Players, club staff, partners and an array of guests attended, with Sydney midfielder Milos Ninkovic and W-League captain Teresa Polias given the honour of modelling the new home design.

The away and alternate strips were also showcased and all contain an indelible symbol that clearly connects the club to both fans and the local environment.

Senior design manger on Under Armour’s Global Football Team Karen Patterson explained.

“Using sky blue as the focal point, conceptually we designed the three kits to incorporate the club’s traditional colours while also giving a nod to the Sydney Opera House – an iconic symbol for the club and for supporters around the world.”

The strips are visually stunning and using state of the art material technology, also provide Sydney’s teams with the best chance of success in what will be demanding and competitive seasons in both the A and W Leagues in 2019/20.

The four-year deal sets up a relationship based on successful branding and imaging, a quality that both parties pursue. It is something Sydney FC achieved last season when it raised both the men’s and women’s championship trophies and also what Under Armour aim to achieve by producing bold and innovative designs in their development of football kit.

Certainly in the case of Sydney FC, they appear to have hit the mark.

With Puma, Umbro, Macron, Adidas, Nike and Kappa already in the A-League kit arena, the new player enters a competitive and challenging local market and Sydney FC becomes the 18th club backed by the brand across the globe.

The medium term vision for the company must surely include forging a deal with a European powerhouse club that will ingrain their name even more deeply into the world game.

Thanks to the ever-increasing importance of global branding and corporate involvement in all sport, clubs benefit considerably from both the product provided and the associated aesthetics that permeate in a world of impression and reputation.

This new arrangement is an exciting development for the league and Sydney FC will look stunning on the pitch in spite of any disappointing results. It will be interesting to see the competitors’ offerings as we move nearer to season kick-off in October and wonderful if more and more young kids begin wearing the colours of their favourite A-League team instead of far-flung international clubs.

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Labor set to deliver infrastructure upgrades to Northern NSW Football clubs

NNSWF

Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) is set to welcome nine promised infrastructure upgrades from the Labor Government following the party’s win at the Federal election.

The commitments are a result of NNSWF’s strategy to lobby Federal MPs as part of its key strategic priority of Places to Play, as well as the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Legacy plan.

The commitments are from Labor candidates standing for election on Saturday.

“We thank sitting MPs and candidates who have made pledges to support football within their electorate,” NNSWF CEO David Eland said in a statement via the organisation.

“One of our priorities as part of our 2021-2023 Strategic Plan is ‘Places to Play’. So these commitments are not a coincidence. They are reflective of the work NNSWF and Member Zone staff have done over a number of years.”

NNSWF launched a comprehensive Facilities Audit in 2018 to capture data on more than 200 football facilities across northern NSW. A priority projects list was established in conjunction with clubs to advocate with all levels of government.

The NSW Football Infrastructure Strategy was then released in 2020. From this, NNSWF developed seven Local Infrastructure Strategies consisting of data from the audit and outlined a strategic direction to cater for the increase in participation based on five pillars:

  • Planning for growth and demand
  • Improve existing venue capacity
  • Inclusive football facilities
  • Homes of football
  • Partnerships and investment

“Football is the largest team participation sport in NSW with our current rapid growth certain to continue,” Eland continued.

“We needed to plan for the future and identify the needs of our sport for those that currently play and for those that want to but can’t.

“We identified at the time that there could have been as many as 30,000 additional players across NSW that could have played in 2019 if they had access to a football facility.

“What we are doing is ensuring that football has the infrastructure and facilities to continue to grow into the future and players will have access to quality places to play wherever they are in our region.”

The clubs set to receive much-needed infrastructure upgrades following Labor’s election win are:

  • Wallsend FC, Wallsend DDC ($286,000 for ground improvements, including irrigation on both fields)
  • Newcastle Olympic FC ($625,000 for amenity improvements and a new grandstand)
  • Maitland FC ($2,000,000 to upgrade lighting and to develop new amenities and a function centre)
  • Valentine FC ($184,000 for amenities upgrades)
  • Dudley United Senior FC ($320,000 for gender neutral amenities upgrade, disability access and toilets)
  • Garden Suburbs FC ($400,000 for female friendly changerooms)
  • Singleton Strikers FC (3,000,000 for upgrades to three full fields, multi-use court, upgraded amenities and carpark)
  • Edgeworth FC ($65,000 for fencing, completion of lighting project and completion of dish drainage)
  • Thornton JFC ($150,000 for lighting upgrade to two fields and new lighting to MiniRoos area)

This week’s football funding news ahead of election

Australia’s Federal election commences on Saturday, with the final rounds of funding and promises rolled out across the week.

Both major parties once again made their commitments across various states, both on and off the pitch, and more broadly for issues surrounding community and national sport.

Tasmania and New South Wales will both benefit further from the Morrison Government if re-elected, while other communities and broadcasters were given promises by Labor.

Labor

The Labor Party will commit $2.5M to upgrade the Kariong Sporting Precinct if it wins government on May 21. Based in the NSW suburb of Kariong – just west of Gosford – the upgrades will aim to make the precinct more inclusive.

While the Precinct is host to many different sporting clubs and organisations, it is also home to Kariong United FC.

Announced by Candidate for Robertson, Dr Gordon Reid, and Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, it is an addition to the state-wide focus on investing in female football.

While not funding, Labor leader Anthony Albanese pledged to support local TV and free sporting events, including football events, if elected.

The Labor Party will review anti-siphoning laws if elected to ensure that major sporting events are available for free instead of behind paywalls of streaming services.

Liberal

The Liberal Party announced on Tuesday that it will commit $3.5 million towards the redevelopment of Valley Road if elected after May 21.

Announced by Member for Braddon, Gavin Pearce, the funding would allow Devonport Strikers to complete Stage One of its redevelopment of Valley Road, including increased seating, lighting and pitch upgrades, as well as refurbished clubroom and kitchen facilities.

The funding would be in addition to the State Government funding committed to Valley Road to give the venue the best chance of being selected to host 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup basecamps.

Meanwhile in NSW, it was announced on Monday that $3 million would go to upgrading sporting facilities at Harrie Dening Football Centre and Prince Edward Park in Kareela

The proposed funding will help deliver an equaliser for the Sutherland Shire football community in a state-wide commitment to female football.

The equaliser campaign is designed to support grassroots for clubs to deliver new and improved female friendly facilities.

The funding to Prince Edward Park will go towards raising the oval, sports field lighting, improved car park and playground and fitness space renewals.

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