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Optus has ended its sponsorship of Football Federation Australia after five years with the round ball game. Oval balls are out too, with its sponsorship of AFL team Carlton to end this year. Other sponsorships are in doubt.

The withdrawals are report in The Australian, which quotes Optus head of brand Nathan Rosenberg as saying: "We have made the tough decision to not renew our sponsorship as FFA's official telecommunications partner. Exiting the sponsorship with FFA was a tough call, but we need to invest in areas where our customers will directly receive the benefits.

"Optus has been transforming its business over the last 12 months to ensure that our customers are at the centre of our organisation. As part of this strategy, Optus is redeploying funds from traditional marketing communications programs, including sponsorships, into activities focusing on customer experience such as upgrading our branded retail stores and online presence."

The newspaper also says that its relationship with AFL team Carlton, under which Optus is a minor sponsor and ‘telecommunications partner’, will end. There is no word on whether other Optus sports sponsorships, such as the Australian Open Tennis, will end.

The ending of the FFA sponsorship will see the demise of the optusfootball.com.au site, which runs a number of competitions and awards. The Australian speculates that Telstra will fill the breach. Optus will have to change its website:

Optus' sponsorship is an essential part of our business and reflects our commitment to giving back to the communities and people who support us. We take great pride in our sponsorships and are committed to ensuring that Australians have the opportunity to realise their full potential now and in the future.

Pride, it seems, has been overcome by commercial reality. The site lists all Optus sponsorships:


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.