Australia’s football league taps R/GA as partner for brand growth

10 August 2021 2 min. read
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The recently-formed football administration organisation, Australian Professional Leagues, has agreed a partnership with R/GA.

Digital and innovation consultancy R/GA Australia has been appointed the lead agency partner of Australian Professional Leagues (APL), which took over the administration of top-flight club football leagues in Australia at the end of last year. Triumphing after what was described as a thorough tender process, R/GA will now support APL in growing the A-League and W-League competitions.

“Football in Australia has unbelievable potential, and we need the right people on the journey to unleash that potential and deliver the future the game deserves,” commented APL director of marketing and data, Rob Nolan, who said that agencies in both Australia and the UK pitched for the contract. “We have an ambitious vision, and R/GA are the perfect partner to help us realise it.”

Australia’s football league taps R/GA as partner for brand growth

The potential of Australian football was laid bare last week, when the Matilda’s Olympics fixture against Great Britain broke the record as the most watched women’s sporting event in the nation’s history, peaking at 2.24 million viewers. The A-league however has been plagued by poor television ratings, along with governance issues which have hampered growth.

Now, Football Australia has handed over “operational, commercial and marketing control” of the league (including the related under 21s and esports leagues) to APL, effectively granting clubs more freedom to invest and shape the competition. The APL has since landed a fresh $200 million, five-year broadcasting deal with Channel 10 and Paramount+, which will include free-to-air matches.

“We are thrilled to be working with APL,” said R/GA Australia vice president and managing director Michael Titshall, who was brought in two years ago to oversee a revamp at the firm. “They have the most exciting sports product in the country with unlimited potential. We can’t wait to help them realise that potential by re-inventing the professional football brand and experience in Australia.”

Seamus Higgins, R/GA vice president and chief creative officer for APAC, was less reserved in a post to LinkedIn; “Boom! What an incredibly exciting win to announce for R/GA Australia. After everything we’ve put in, it’s amazing to start to see what this hot, fresh team is capable of – combining talents across strategy, branding, experience, tech and culture infused marketing.”

Along with a roster of big-name clients including Google, Uber, Nike, and Toyota, R/GA Australia can also boast of some serious sporting pedigree in the country, recently teaming up with the NRL on an immersive campaign to celebrate 40 years of State of Origin. The firm also drove engagement for Uber Eats throughout the 2021 Australian Open, including settling up a live social response lab.