The Canterbury Bulldogs are working hard to try and salvage their sponsorship deal with the Strathfield Group, after the NRL shot down the deal – under pressure from major sponsor Telstra who see the new sponsor as a potential competitor.
Bulldogs heavyweights have held discussions with NRL boss David Gallop, asking Gallop to meet with Telstra in a desperate bid to save the club’s new $2 million sponsorship deal. The Strathfield Group are a large mobile phone industry player and are aligned with Optus, an obvious direct competitor to Telstra.
With the situation in limbo, the Bulldogs will take the field tonight with the Camp Quality signage still on their shirts, the club failing to win NRL approval to have Strathfield emblazened across their jerseys.
Regardless of the outcome with the NRL and Telstra, the situation has already netted Strathfield valuable news headliens – the decision by Telstra to urge the NRL to oppose the deal may have already backfired – with their competitor the talk of the Rugby League world this week.
But Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg believes he and his officials can convince Telstra that the Strathfield Group is not a direct competitor to the telecommunications leader, which pays about $12m per year for complete naming rights to the NRL premiership – thus saving the deal.
However, this seems like a tough ask for the Bulldogs. The Strathfield Group after recent financial problems has diversified to now offer office furniture and other equipment besides mobile phones.
GreenbergÂ held discussions with Gallop in the past few days, keen to arrange a meeting between the Dogs, the NRL and Telstra.
“I’ve asked him to assist to broker a meeting with Telstra to demonstrate that Strathfield aren’t competitors,” Greenberg said. “We hope that they will see that Strathfield aren’t a threat. Hopefully we can resolve it within the next week.”
While bad weather may keep the numbers away from ANZ Stadium tonight – the occasion would have been ideal to tout the new Bulldogs sponsor. But Greenberg confirmed the Bulldogs club mad an error by not announcing the deal to the NRL before going public.