In the NRL, Sonny Bill Williams has had a marquee player style impact on the Roosters and the NRL as a whole, creating a large amount of hype and buzz on both.
SBW bringing in the big bucks for Sydney Roosters in 2013
THE Roosters may not have been crowing after their opening round loss to South Sydney, but the club's commercial chief Ted Helliar is laughing all the way to the bank. The game attracted a record gate and drew record TV ratings, something Helliar put down almost solely to the return of Sonny Bill Williams.
When asked to assess the value of Williams' return to the sport where he made his name, Helliar said “At this stage I can't put a dollar figure to it, but, you talk about game-wide, it is millions and millions and millions of dollars. We had a record round-one Sydney gate and record TV ratings - that is all off the back of the Sonny Bill factor[/b[. Our membership numbers are up 25% and that has definitely been Sonny. We have budgeted vast increases right across the board. We are looking at a record gate taking across the year. We were budgeting for a record membership and we hit targets before a ball was even kicked. I've been quoted as saying he is like the David Beckham of the Southern Hemisphere. He has got it all in terms of looks and physique and talent and personality.
SBW has been the focus in print advertising.
Sonny billboard a provocative promotion in Dogs territory
Roosters chief operating officer commercial, Ted Helliar, said the move to put up a billboard on Canterbury Road was simply to remind some Bulldogs fans when the match was taking place. But he acknowledged that it was also designed to increase the hype.
“We're not pushing the boundaries too much”, Helliar said. “Sonny's a big enough drawcard himself, but we want to create some talk about the game. It's hard enough to get bums on seats; why wouldn't you have a crack at doing something that way? It's one of those games where, whether you're a Dragons fan or a Rabbitohs fan, you might want to come to the game because of the interest in it all”.
Helliar also added the club put billboards up in the South Sydney district before the round-one clash with the Roosters' traditional rivals. Far from being angered by the provocative move, Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg, who met with Roosters officials to discuss promotional activities as well as security arrangements before the match applauded the Roosters' initiative.
I think it's great, Greenberg said. [b]It highlights that we work in the entertainment industry, and there's no doubt that he's a significant attraction. Those sorts of things; we should be doing more of them.
SBW's also been the star of his own FTA TV commercial designed to launch the NRL competition, with the look, aesthetic and scope almost in the realm of Nine's TV series.
SBW - OMG
While the NRL already allows a marquee player allowance of $300,000 per NRL club, a number of people have called for a dedicated player outside the cap:
Phil Rothfield: The NRL needs to allow one salary cap exempt player per club
In the latest Big League magazine, Broncos CEO Paul White and RLPA CEO David Garnsey both discussed the merits of allowing marquee players.
Edited by TheObserver, 05 May 2013 - 10:33 AM.