Plungie Targeting “Next Era” Of Sports Entertainment
fter recently announcing deals with both the Sunshine Coast Lightning and the Gold Coast Suns, award-winning concrete plunge pool company, Plungie, plans to support sporting fan bases as much as they can post-COVID-19.
Speaking to Ministry of Sport, The Plunge Pool Company general manager, Ben Petersen, discussed how Plungie’s partnerships came about and what the future of sport sponsorship will look like due to the effects of COVID-19.
Petersen said sport has found a way to bring people together during the challenges, and Plungie hopes to be a part of the “next era of sports entertainment” thanks to this.
“Plungie as a company and a product offering, has the purpose of bringing people together and being a part of the big moments in people’s lives,” Petersen said.
“With the challenges that 2020 has thrown up to everybody worldwide, it quickly became apparent to us how important sport would become to everybody during 2020.
“With families and friendships facing the challenges of isolation and imposed lock downs, people were isolated from their social tribe.
“We felt that it was important to support a fan base that could still connect to their own sporting team.
“With sports finding a way to resume competitions, fans could feel a connection to other fans.
“Suddenly a midweek text message to friends talking about their favourite sporting team, was so much more important than the actual result of the game itself and we wanted to promote this feeling of connection.
“Sport has provided a backdrop in 2020 as a way to bring people together during a time when people were feeling isolated from their social tribe, so it made a lot of sense to form a couple key partnerships when others may have shied away because it fitted perfectly with our purpose,” he said.
Discussing the impact of COVID-19 on the sports industry and the way sponsorship deals are done, Petersen said creativity and flexibility reigned supreme through 2020.
“The initial ‘shock’ of COVID-19 meant that sports had to adapt or die,” Petersen said.
“The status quo was gone, and each sporting organisation had to pivot to a start-up mentality.
“The rule book on how deals were done in the past had to be thrown out which presented some great opportunities.
“Emerging brands could make a mark if they were sharp, and the sporting commercial team had a lot more flexibility to create great outcomes for both fans and sponsors.
“I think this innovative, more creative deal flow will continue post COV-19 due to some of the outcomes achieved.
“Post 2020 end of year reviews for organisations will reveal that creative deal structures were the key to most competitions’ survival.
“This will continue going forward which will open a lot of opportunities that will ingrain sports even more into the day to day lives of Australian’s.
“The challenge is how to get fans physically attending again, post restrictions,” he said, when asked how the sport industry will look in the post-COVID-19 world.
“Has the ‘habit’ of physically attending games been broken or just paused?
“The events of 2020 are a defining moment of our times.
“It has caused a massive shift in collective consciousness.
“People have been forced to reset and reassess and set simpler more primal goals.
“The roar competitiveness of the sporting field will be more attractive than ever to view across media platforms.
“Smart companies will want to choose a tribe to be associated with, which is a great opportunity for sporting organisations regarding viewership.
“What will be more important than ever though is game day experience and how enhance the feeling of being at a game.
“That feeling of excitement when you attended your first ever game as a kid, needs to be amplified to create new feelings of excitement to get the turnstiles ticking post COVID-19.
“How sporting teams do this is something I am excited to see.
“Hopefully Plungie can be a part of this next era of sports entertainment,” Petersen said.
With Plungie’s success in the sponsorship market across Queensland sport especially, Petersen talked about how those partnerships started and what the future for Plungie will look like in the sports sponsorship market.
“Plungie initially was exposed to the power of sporting partnerships when we were invited by the Brisbane Heat to be a part of their WBBL regional tour in early 2019,” Petersen said.
“Off the back of that successful partnership, Brisbane Heat GM, Andrew McShea, (now heading up Play Sports Marketing) introduced the Plungie team to a network of opportunities that really aligned with our purpose.
“After looking at the strategic benefits of a range of opportunities, the partnerships that made a lot of sense straight off the bat was the tie up with the Sunshine Coast Lightning in the Super Netball competition.
“Through discussions with the Lightning’s head of commercial, Matt Williams, we wanted to support a region that had supported at the start.
“The very first Plungie that we sold was to a home on the Sunshine Coast, so it was a nice arc to the Plungie story.
“Very much the #westriketogether motto that the Lightning promotes.
“The Lightning’s affiliation with the Melbourne Storm was also a plus, with the Melbourne area being a key market for Plungie’s.
“The partnership with Metricon Stadium and the Gold Coast Suns quickly followed.
“Plungie wants to bring more people together with a Plungie Pool being the ultimate gathering point in any home outdoor experience.
“Through our initial conversations with the Gold Coast Suns head of commercial Simon Fitzgibbon and Metricon Stadium GM, Tim Carey, we quickly identified a great opportunity to bring Australian’s most innovative swimming pool solution, together with the stadium’s naming rights sponsor, Australia’s largest home builder, Metricon.
“Nobody builds more homes that bring people together each year than Metricon.
“We wanted to put ourselves in the best position to partner with the next generation of Metricon customers so that they are celebrating their housewarming, their children’s 6th birthday or their 21st wedding anniversary, with a Plungie pool in the background…
“We have fielded some really interesting approaches recently that we are excited to work through to a partnership stage from other capital cities across Australia,” Petersen said, when asked about the future commercial plans for Plungie.
“We have recently launched Plungie USA in Dallas, Texas and some really big opportunities are currently in the works to partner with some US sporting teams.
“Taking Plungie global is a big challenge, but sport is a universal global “language” that can accelerate key partnerships,” he said.