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18 May 2010

Crown Casino In Sponsorship Talks With Melbourne Storm!, by Greg Tingle - 18th May 2010

Casino entrepreneurs, insiders, outsiders, punters and everyone one else... we saw it coming, but now its official (say our spies), Crown Casino is in talks with embattled Melbourne NRL team, the Storm and the footy team of the moment could soon be sponsored by gaming and leisure powerhouse, James Packer's Crown Casino aka Crown Limited. Media Man down under, proud shareholder in Crown, and Gambling911, crash tackle the situation...

It was only yesterday when Gambling911 and MM explored the curious (and headline grabbing) sponsorship and endorsements deals between the likes of PartyGaming - PartyPoker - Francesco Totti, Jaime Alguersuari and Giancarlo Fisichella, and the massively hyped and covered Virgin Racing - Full Tilt Poker deal. Full Tilt logos had previously been featured on the footy shorts of our fav NRL footy club in Sydney, Australia - Sydney Roosters (months prior doing business with Hulk Hogan and catching Hulk-A-Mania in the process). Red Bull might be soon plugging into the casino connection, following the Virgin Group lead. Red Bull is certainly getting the audience at the moment with Aussie Mark Webber coming off a series of high profile F1 race wins... more of the Bull - Crown Casino connection later... stay with us...

Australian sports media outlets like One HD, NineMSN - Wide World of Sports are lapping it up, as are sports sponsorship publications.

Media Man's been saying for years that its all a battle for the entertainment dollar, audiences, headlines and event numbers, and you get the idea. There's only so much money out there for both corporates and punters to invest it, and only the best will attract the audiences and the dollars that follow, be it AUD, EURO, CAN, FR, USD or some other denomination. By the way, you got to love Multi Currency Casinos, but that's another story...

Australian and Asia Pacific casino, gaming (and lifestyle) king, James Packer, and his inner circle, are onto something big...

Packer is in the entertainment, tourism and lifestyle industry. Casinos and betting only form part (albeit a very important part of the machine). To Packer's credit, he also gives back to society, be it GenerationOne (creating jobs), or if our birdies got it right, saving a struggling NRL footy team, in this case the Melbourne Storm. NRL (and AFL) players and management are celebrated and passionate fans of the establishment, knowing for making a few colourful headlines over the years with significant Aussie piss ups. Mind you, in recent years Crown security was basically forced to clamp down on the amount of drinks being served, to protect punters, reputation and legal eagle considerations. It's a shame 'Mr Sin' Abe Saffron, nights ago showcased on 'Australian Families Of Crime', isn't around anymore to quiz on the matter. 'Our Abe' was quite the liquor merchant and entrepreneur when a massive black market for drinks thrived on Australia's east coast.

Back to modern day and Crown headquarters...

The Crown empire advises the sponsorship talks re in a"very early stage" are the result of a long, ensuring and healthy relationship between the parties, and a synergy of interests.

A bit of background...

Melbourne Storm is owned by a Valimanda, which is owned by News Ltd a part of News Corporation, which owns a 25% Foxtel. Another 25% of Foxtel is owned by Consolidated Media Holdings, which is controlled by Aussie Casino king James Packer.

Foxtel holds the pay-TV rights to the National Rugby League, and wants a bloody successful team in Melbourne, Australia (also home to Crown Casino - 'A World Of Entertainment' wear you can 'Wear The Crown'!

More synergies...

Melbourne Storm-Valimanda-News Ltd - Premier Media Group, half-owned by News Ltd. Operated by Fox Sports, which provides approx 100% of the sports "content" on Foxtel, (including its NRL coverage). The other co-owner of Premier Media is the Packer controlled CMH (Consolidated Media Holdings).

Melbourne Storm can smartly approach suitable potential sponsorship partners. In the drivers seat or pole position, just happens to be Packer's Crown...with a major interest in the success of the NRL on television, and a man who shares that business interest with Rupert Murdoch, whose global company owns and controls Storm. Sounds like a fantastic group of synergies and a match made in heaven.

The Formula One Motorsport Connection...

Mark Webber at Monaco just became the first Aussie driver since Sir Jack Brabham in 1959 to win the event. The Red Bull team must be taking sponsorship or is that, ambush marketing lessons under Kym Illman. Illman also has shared a few of his marketing ideas and deals with yours truely - Tingle, Max Markson and cricket and poker pro - Shane Warne...Ok, back to matters at hand, Red Bull is official, but they sure know who to get the Red and Yellow on the TV, mags, newspapers and websites. We wonder how many people actually buy the drink, but Red Bull more resembles a media and marketing company these days. Heard of McDonalds Real Estate (hamburgers)...the product made the money at first, but then the brand and the money machine took on a life of its own.

Red Bull has a floating 'Energy Station' which sits in the harbour at Monaco. It's a multi-level floating gin and fun palace that sports a bar, restaurant and its own private pool! Virgin's Richard Branson has not been spotted their (yet), but comon', invite RB and Virgin Racing over. It's all good fodder for the news media.

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner was even thrown in drink of the team's floating palace, dubbed the "floaterhome". Almost makes James Packers' guitar smashing at the City Of Dreams, Macau look mild in comparison, buy JP made up for it by jumping off his boat in Sydney Harbour we understand.

"I think Mark's had the week of his life," Horner said.

"To win two GPs in a row, including the Monaco GP which is probably the most prestigious on the calendar, is a very proud day for the whole of Red Bull Racing.

"And we didn't only win Monaco, but finished first and second, so it is a great day for the team."


Back To The Crown Casino - Melbourne Storm Deal - Is The Ink Dry Yet?

Sources at Crown confirmed that "preliminary talks" commenced between the casino and the Storm last Friday.

A Storm spokesman also confirmed that a "more general sponsorship discussion" had taken place with Crown. A second meeting is scheduled for next week at this stage.

"We don't support individual AFL clubs because that would be unfair to pick one club over all the others, but we do give quite broad support to the AFL and to many clubs when it comes to staging major functions". Melbourne Storm is different, this is the only rugby league team in Victoria, and we think there are a number of areas where this (sponsorship deal) can be mutually beneficial."

Crown Limited has a relationship (business and personal) with Melbourne Storm that dates back several years. The club has held a number of big fund-raising events at the casino, including a mid-season ball and its end-of-year presentation ball.

Folks, Crown and The Storm are certainly whipping up a hurricane. Sounds like if MM and G911 birdies are right on the money, soon enough Storm NRL will be wearing the crown and in an out of this 'World Of Entertainment'. Cheers, and see you at the bar!

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They also publish Australian Sports Entertainment
http://www.australiansportsentertainment.com

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited and Virgin, and has conducted some b2b with both entities

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