Renaming the Manly Sea Eagles’ homeground to ‘Lottoland’ sends a dangerous message to children and sports fans, South Australian senator Nick Xenophon says.
The NRL team has today signed a million-dollar sponsorship deal with global betting agency Lottoland, which will include an 80-metre sign, advertising on the ground and social media.
Mr Xenophon said with the increasing popularity of sports betting, saturation advertising of gambling set a dangerous precedent.
“The Manly Sea Eagles and Lottoland are in a race to the bottom, this goes even further than other brazen sponsorship deals just to rebadge an entire stadium,” he said.
“Requiring sporting commentators to simply spruik the brand is brazen and outrageous.”
Brookvale Oval is the Manly Sea Eagles homeground and is owned by the Northern Beaches Council.
Lottoland is a gambling agency that allows Australians to bet online in overseas lotteries.
Lottoland’s managing director, Luke Brill, said the deal was costing more than $1 million and would see a complete overhaul of Manly’s branding.
“It’s not Lottoland Park, not Lottoland Stadium Oval but ‘Lottoland’,” he said.
“It will run for three years and it will be up for the first game of the season.”
Lottoland has not revealed how much the deal is worth but Mr Brill said part of the sponsorship money would go towards updating the rundown facility.
“[It’s] up to the club to decide where funds go, potentially to upgrade the stands,” he said.
“We were approached by Manly in regards to assisting them with some sponsorship.
“When we looked at the situation that Manly were in where they were concerned that potentially they would have to move away from northern beaches, we felt that that was the biggest impact we could have.”
Mr Brill brushed off ethical criticisms, saying it was not unprecedented for a gambling company to sponsor a sports venue.
“We’ve monitored the forums and obviously there’s a mixed response there from both Manly fans and the media,” he said.
“From our perspective we aren’t the first gambling company to sponsor a stadium, obviously there was a Centrebet stadium, formerly the Penrith stadium.
“So it has been done before and it’s a well-trodden route.”
The Sea Eagles’ CEO was unavailable for comment, and the Northern Beaches Council was contacted for comment.