Ministry of Sport

From Shanghai To Whyalla – How Port Adelaide Traversed The Globe With Its Joint Major Sponsor GFG 

It’s not every day an Australian Rules football club from Adelaide assists a company based in London with a business deal in China that benefits thousands of people across Australia.

But then, Port Adelaide is no regular AFL club.

With 37 premierships, the Port Adelaide Football Club is the most successful football club in Australia and takes its core business of winning premierships very seriously.

But the club has always been a challenger and the success of its venture into China to play an AFL game for Premiership points and build business networks is just one example of that.

In its first year of their partnership, the club and its joint major sponsor, GFG, have traversed the globe to secure mutual benefits.

Whilst a commitment to South Australia, community and family values is at the core of their agreement, Port Adelaide was able to support GFG’s announcement in Shanghai about a landmark joint venture with Shanghai Electric to build one of Australia’s largest solar farms.

As the primary employer in the regional city of Whyalla, with over 1500 local workers, GFG was also keen to see benefits for that community from its partnership with Port Adelaide.

Port Adelaide not only took its entire AFL list of 46 players there for a community camp in 2019, engaging with more than 1000 people at schools, hospitals and aged care facilities, it has helped bring a competitive game to Whyalla for the first time in more than 20 years, having lobbied the sport’s governing body for the fixture.

The Power will play the Western Bulldogs at Whyalla’s Bennett Oval in March 2020 as part of the Marsh Community Series pre-season competition, bringing investment and attention to the city.

Port Adelaide and GFG have worked with the AFL, and State and Local Governments to ensure the facilities will be upgraded to AFL standard and be able to be enjoyed by the community for years to come.

The club is helping in other ways as well. It is supporting the GFG Foundation Test Pilots – a group of 25 Whyalla students participating in a skills development program to expose them to future career opportunities – by welcoming them to the club for an experience in a high-performance environment, while more than 500 GFG employees accepted invitations to attend Port Adelaide AFL matches in 2019.

GFG Alliance Executive Chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, describes the partnership as a first for his family.

“We have never partnered with a sporting club before, but Port Adelaide’s rich history of hard work, and its family and community values were so aligned to my own that I felt compelled to sign a long-term partnership with the club,” he said.

“The foundation of any successful partnership is that it must have benefits for both parties and in Port Adelaide, we have found a partner on the same wavelength, one that is constantly looking to engage and improve its community.

“From hosting students from our GFG Foundation program to bringing the entire football operation to Whyalla to engage with the community, the club has gone above and beyond to help with our ambitious vision for South Australia.

“During the Shanghai 2019 event, Port Adelaide also supported GFG’s strategic partnership with Shanghai Electric.

“We look forward to working together for a long time to come.”

Port Adelaide CEO, Keith Thomas, said the partnership reflects the club’s desire to go above and beyond for partners.

“At Port Adelaide we’re always trying to think outside the square with our partners.

“We’re prepared to be bold and have a go,”  he said.

“We are deeply connected with our community and we are committed to driving positive change.

“GFG is no different with its bold ambition to enhance the communities in which it operates.

“We have been thrilled to work alongside GFG in 2019 and look forward to our ongoing relationship continuing to deliver for both parties.”

Port Adelaide will celebrate its 150th year in 2020 with a wide selection of traditional, community, and content opportunities in development for suitable brands to align with throughout the year.

Contact Brett Mathers – Commercial Development Manager at the Port Adelaide Football Club for further information bmathers@pafc.com.au.

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney