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Top Australia cricketers in ambush marketing net as CA-ACA stand-off continues

Australia’s top cricketers could seen be sporting top brands in India on a regular basis as talks between Cricket Australia (CA) and Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) continue to stagnate

cricket Updated: Jul 21, 2017 22:19 IST
Harit N Joshi
Harit N Joshi
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Australia national cricket team,Cricket Australia,Australian cricket association
Australia’s top players like Mitchell Starc and Steve Smith have new deals with car companies which are directly in competition with CA’s car sponsor.(Getty Images)

Star Australian cricketers will soon be seen sporting top brands in India on a regular basis just like the Dhonis, Kohlis and Tendulkars.

No breakthrough in the talks between Cricket Australia (CA) and Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) has rendered hundreds of Australian male and female cricketers unemployed since last month, forcing the players union to consider off-shore markets, especially India.

CA and ACA are at loggerheads primarily on the former’s proposal to end revenue-sharing model with the players.

A majority of top Australian players have signed up with ACA’s body The Cricketers’ Brand which was rolled out last month. The body will handle their intellectual property (IP).

“There are a lot of negotiations going on back home and it is frustrating for both parties (CA and ACA). We are exploring additional opportunities for our players as they are currently unemployed. The power of the Indian market is one that we would be silly not to tap into. We are looking for potential partnerships with brands, broadcasters and people involved in the game. The response has been great. I have met some broadcast partners, brands and the agencies over here. They know the value of the Australian cricketers. There is a lot of genuine interest,” ACA’s general manager Tim Cruickshank told Hindustan Times on Friday.

The move may see Australian stars promoting a brand rival to Cricket Australia’s partner/sponsor. It is learnt that cricketers like Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Usman Khawaja have new deals with car companies which are directly in competition with CA’s car sponsor.

Will the scenario lead to a situation of ambush marketing? “We have already seen that (ambush marketing) happening back home. It really depends on the outcome of the MOU (with CA). We want to work with the CA partners. For example, KFC can well sign a contract with the ACA and protect their rights. But if they don’t do it and say McDonalds sign up with us, it is very much a possibility,” said Cruickshank.

“We are looking to secure territorial rights of the players and it cannot be temporary, it can be ongoing. Right now the majority of the Australian cricketers have signed their IPs to us. They don’t have the same commercial restrictions like before.

“There is also a possibility that Cricket Australia may also want to buy back the IPs directly from us… that’s also a point of discussion. Time will tell. We are not just looking to sign a two-week agreement. That doesn’t make sense. We are looking at a longer partnership. We are not looking for a quick fix solution,” added the former first-class cricketer.

Cruickshank is confident the current agreements would still be honoured by players when the contracts with CA are finally agreed upon.

Since the CA stopped its funding, the ACA is left with only the support fund to bail out the players financially. Cruickshank said the top players have been fantastic in their support. “The top players could have taken the CA contract a month ago, which would have paid them a very healthy salary. But they have said no to those contracts to protect their state players. It is about the future of Australian cricket. The longer this dispute goes on, the more implications there will be --- including the relationships with the players and relationships with other governing bodies and broadcast partners. This has to be solved quickly,” he said.

First Published: Jul 21, 2017 21:36 IST