Vodafone has announced it is quitting its Australian sports sponsorship deals – including those with cricket Australia and V8 motorsport – as they expire.
Vodafone says it will use the money saved in funding its mobile phone network and improving customer service.
Vodafone spent $141.7 million on “advertising and promotion expenses” in 2010-11 according to financial reports filed with the corporate regulator, down from $149.2 million the previous year.
Triple Eight Racing V8 team has a sponsorship deal with Vodafone that ends after 2012, while Cricket Australia’s 11-year relationship with the mobile carrier will expire at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season.
Noel Hamill, Consumer Business Unit Director at Vodafone, said in statement: “Our sponsorship of the Australian Test cricket team has delivered exceptional value and great experiences to many of our customers, so the decision to conclude the sponsorship at the end of the 2012-13 summer has not been taken lightly. We feel that it’s best to refocus our investment and attention on delivering the best possible network and service experience to our customers.”
The Daily Telegraph reported that Mike McKenna, Cricket Australia’s executive general manager commercial, said CA was on the look out for a new home country sponsor for the 2013-14 Ashes series.
“Like all sports’ sponsorships, there comes a time when the sponsor achieves its partnership objectives and moves on with new strategic priorities,” McKenna said.
“Our research shows the Australian public loves Test cricket, regards cricket as the sound of summer and that interest in cricket goes through the roof when the traditional enemy, England, tours this country,” McKenna said.
The SMH reported that Vodafone was besieged by complaints in late 2010 because its network was unprepared for the amount of mobile data used by smartphones. Its customer base fell by 554,000 to 7 million by the end of 2011 as consumers abandoned it in search of more reliable service.
The complaints reached their height in the midst of the company’s sponsorship of the cricket season and the resulting bad publicity – dubbed “Vodafail” on social media sites – cancelled out any feelgood factor from the cricket sponsorship.