The Western Australian Rugby League has branded themselves West Coast Pirates as part of its bid to join the national competition.
The unveiling of the name and logo is the latest step for the WARL in its drive to regain a WA team in the elite national competition. A previous franchise, the WA and then Perth Reds played three seasons from 1995 before becoming a casualty of the Super League war.
The ARL Commission has yet to confirm a timetable for expansion but is expected to add two teams in two years time to give TV broadcasters an extra game.
Bid chairman Richard Campbell said: “We are excited with the brand and felt it time we opened it up to the community. Even though some people may question the deviation from the established Reds, our research has shown it will be a fantastic new identity for the game.
“The Reds will always be part of our heritage. This launch comes as the second phase of our bid process after launching our Vision 2020 two weeks ago. The next phase is the completion of the actual bid document which is well in hand.”
Chief Executive Officer John Sackson added: “The brand is fresh, exciting and new to Australian sport and we believe it has a marketing edge that will be enthusiastically embraced by both our stakeholders and those new to the game.
“While the bid process and any moves on expansion are very dependent on the Australian Rugby League Commission’s strategic plan, there is an expectation that we need to be prepared and ready.
“From our conversations with the ARLC we understand there is a willingness to develop the profile of Rugby League in Western Australia and we expect that the television rights, being negotiated at the moment, will be announced in September with the strategic plan soon after.
“Equally important to this announcement is our message about presenting a ‘whole of game’ approach to our bid which ensures the local game not only survives but thrives with the introduction of an NRL license. Our statewide development of Rugby League through the grassroots club and school competitions will be tied to the success of the national team for the long term.
“There is a genuine excitement for the game in Western Australia and we are prepared to work with the ARLC, the state government and our stakeholders to see it happen. We honestly believe it not to be a case of if, but more when this will occur. Hopefully our preparedness will assist that process.”
The bid is being supported by the WA Government through the $96 million upgrade of nib Stadium, and their willingness to see the sport grow in WA, said Sackson.
The West Coast Pirates promotional campaign will be undertaken across all major media in the coming months.
The Pirates have sponsorship from founding Western Reds sponsor and current WARL sponsor Cash Converters along with McDonald’s, Player (Racing & Wagering WA) and The Complete Group.