CITY of Cockburn will sign a one-year sponsorship deal with the Fremantle Dockers, offering the AFL club $25,000 to support its new women’s team.
The Dockers sought out the City for funding in early October, as well as an in-kind arrangement for the women’s side to access gym and match day facilities at Cockburn ARC.
The club will be based at the $109m build when it is finished.
But with the inaugural AFLW league season likely to run prior to Cockburn ARC opening, only the sponsorship side of the deal is a possibility in the first year.
Cockburn councillors voted in favour of the move at a meeting last night , following about 15 minutes of debate.
Cr Steve Portelli argued against the sponsorship, and said it was an “inappropriate use of ratepayer money”.
“The City’s grants and donations funds are limited funds to assist our residents,” he said.
“In no way would the Fremantle Dockers suffer any hardship if the sponsorship of $25,000 was not approved.
“Yes it is about balancing a mixture of uses but shouldn’t we look at each recipient’s capacity to look after itself or its ability to attract money from elsewhere?”
In a report to the City’s grants and donations committee in October, recreation and community safety manager Rob Avard said it was difficult to put a value on the benefits the City will receive as sponsors due to the women’s league being a new competition.
“The extent of public exposure of the women’s game is not clear, and hence the exposure of the City as a sponsor is unknown,” he said.
“The City being an inaugural sponsor may have a great return if the competition becomes popular with high media coverage.
“A one year agreement mitigates the risk to the City as it allows time to assess the promotional value of the sponsorship to the City.”
The Dockers have offered a list of benefits, among them recognition of the partnership, tickets to AFL games for promotional purposes, and player appearances.
The idea had support from councillor Stephen Pratt who said the returns on offer outweighed what the City would usually get from a grant or sponsorship.
Councillor Lyndsey Sweetman said the City would gain great exposure by partnering with the new side.
“I think this sort of sponsorship will bring people, which is members (for) Cockburn ARC; a big investment for the City and we need to make it work,” she said.
“This is one very positive way that that will happen.”