Signs of trouble for sporting clubs

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Published in Warrandyte Diary

Signing off except during matches

A controversial move by Manningham council to ban sponsorship signage for sporting clubs except while games are being played is causing concern for local sporting clubs.

The banner review, passed in August last year, will see local sporting clubs displaying and removing sponsorship signs every match day and will impact clubs in “visually sensitive locations” including Husseys Lane, Domeney, Bulleen, Buck and Warrandyte Reserves.

Local sporting clubs say the policy, which will be enforced next year, will jeopardise sponsorships and place additional demands on volunteers.

Warrandyte Tennis Club’s (WTC) Neil Sproat described the move as “impractical” and “just another imposition on the ever shrinking band of volunteers”. He explained that tennis is played at the club seven days a week, so volunteers will need to be responsible for the laborious task of erecting signs, often in high locations, at the commencement and conclusion of every match. Mr Sproat also expressed concern about sponsorship dollars: “Most sponsors want bang for their buck – the best way to get that impact is to be seen.”

A spokesperson for the Warrandyte Football Club (WFC) echoed these sentiments: “WFC struggles for sponsorship in any form but the banners displayed around the oval are seen by sponsors as community recognition of the goodwill they show the club. If they are only to be displayed on match days, sponsors would see this as a significantly diminished return on their investment.” He also told the Diary, “Volunteers, who can be counted on one hand, will now need to remove about 20 advertising boards from the boundary fence every week.”

Manningham Council CEO, Joe Carbone conceded that the policy will change “the way the clubs will need to promote and acknowledge the support given by sponsors” and said, “Council acknowledges the hard work that volunteers make to Manningham’s recreation and sporting community.”

Mr Carbone added that the move will benefit “the many people who visit the Reserve on a regular basis to enjoy the landscape uninterrupted.” The clubs question this, however, saying most people visit the reserve on weekends while sports are being played.

WFC asked “Are the proposed changes really necessary as we have not received a complaint from the public at any time?”

Mr Sproat said: “One would think that council needs to concentrate on their deal for advertising on bus stops adjacent to Warrandyte Reserve and let the sporting clubs run by volunteers go about their business.”

State government MP Ryan Smith said he considers sponsorship as an “important revenue component for sporting clubs”. He also indicated that he hoped “common sense would prevail with regard to the constant assembly and removal of club signage”.

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