A seven-figure deal with the Manly Sea Eagles has scored Lottoland the naming rights of the NRL club’s home ground.
The million-dollar deal was signed at the start of the month granting the controversial company an 80-metre sign and advertising on the ground of the club’s Brookvale Oval, which will be renamed “Lottoland”.
Social media advertising and shirt sponsorship is also part of the deal.
Lottoland confirmed the publicity has contributed to paying the investment back in full, despite the NRL season not starting up until March.
“During the launch announcement, we received well over $1 million dollars’ worth of PR and have seen a 350% rise in sign-ups from the Northern beaches of Sydney before the first tackle has been made in round one on the 5 March,” a spokesperson for Lottoland said.
Road signs have already been changed with directions to “Lottoland” displayed in the area.
Managing Director of Lottoland Australia, Luke Brill, also commented on the overwhelming response to rename the oval.
“We have had full support of the club, local community, NRL and other third-parties like Ticketmaster, Google Earth and Google Maps all changing the name almost overnight.”
Lottoland has not revealed how much the deal is worth but Mr Brill said the company was approached by Manly to assist with sponsorship.
“[It’s] up to the club to decide where funds go, potentially to upgrade the stands,” he said.
This follows the controversial claims by tennis stars that gambling sponsorships incite cyberbullying, as well as calls from Labor to reduce the number of gambling advertisements aired during live sporting broadcasts.
Anti-gambling crusader and South Australian senator, Nick Xenophon, says this is a dangerous precedent to set with the already over-saturated gambling advertising market.
He said renaming the Manly Sea Eagles’ home ground sends a dangerous message to not only sports fans, but children too.
“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.
Mr Brill brushed off these criticisms and addressed the idea that this was a threatening precedent.
“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.”