Exclusive Interview: Part Two – The Importance Of Partnerships With Grassroots Clubs
n an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport, Point Cook Football Club president, Cameron McKenzie, and Mulgrave Football Club president, Scott Davidson, spoke about the importance of partnerships with grassroots clubs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the final part of a series of exclusive interviews with grassroots clubs and brands, McKenzie said local grassroots clubs rely heavily on sponsors to survive.
“It (local football) has become a business and you need sponsors to survive,” McKenzie told Ministry of Sport.
Due to the Coronavirus, McKenzie said arrangements have been made to cater for their partnerships with sponsors, along with how Point Cook members have been supporting their partners.
“We’ve basically told all of our sponsors that we didn’t expect anything out of them this year,” McKenzie said.
“One of our major sponsors actually gave their first instalment and we came to an agreement that we would hold that over until next year.
“So, we basically told all of our major sponsors that we will carry over to next year and we won’t take any payments off them this year.
“Everyone we use is local, so it’s all about local engagement and we can give back to them too with our members supporting our local sponsors,” he said.
Living Prospect Real Estate (sponsor of Point Cook Football Club) managing director, Lourdes Piscopo, said helping build networks and brand awareness is crucial towards supporting local grassroot clubs.
“Being part of the community [is valuable], this helps brand awareness and I believe it’s important to give back to the community and in return they will support the business,” Piscopo said.
“Word of mouth and referral is the best type of business, so building this network is very important.
“Our brand is very community focused and as a boutique small business we in return need the community to support us,” she said.
When asked about how Piscopo’s brand partnership will look with Point Cook post-COVID, she said there was a glimmer of hope.
“I am hoping that we can still offer full support and be completely involved,” Piscopo said.
“I know that everyone is just waiting to get out there again enjoying great team building,” she said.
In a separate discussion, Mulgrave Football Club president, Scott Davidson, said there a lot of questions surrounding the future of grassroots partnerships.
“Losing a season means losing habitual engagement,” Davidson said.
“Will community sports be as relevant post [COVID]?
“Sponsors at the community level are mostly doners to the cause, little in real return on investment is ever delivered outside of the social values, however will the local sponsors have budget in 2021?
“Will they be focused on survival rather than community?” he asked.
Davidson said more may be needed to done for grassroots clubs to grow in the future.
“If it (Mulgrave Football Club) can survive, it will recover – community sports is the most cost effective means of creating social value, it needs to survive and it will recover, but a different model may be required for it to prosper and grow,” Davidson said.
Pinewood Community Financial Services Limited (Sponsor of Mulgrave Football Club) chairman, Robert Davies, said his brand has also had to make some arrangements to their partnership deals.
“Pinewood community bank sponsors many football, bowls, cricket, and other clubs in our local community,” Davies said.
“We have continued our sports sponsorship program through the COVID-19 period with some small adjustments depending on individual clubs’ circumstances.
“There is no doubt some clubs will struggle to put their stakeholders back together when restrictions ease.
“However, most of our sponsored clubs have well maintained facilities with strong community support which I expect will make the restarting process challenging but surmountable,” he said.
To read part one of the two-part series with how grassroots clubs are travelling during the pandemic, click here.