Sponsorship advertising reprieve for sporting clubs

Redland City Council will urgently review the Local Law that threatened the ability of sporting clubs to attract important sponsorship.

Mayor Karen Williams today announced a 12-month amnesty that gives the green light for clubs to continue to earn sponsorship dollars from advertising, pending the outcome of the review.

“Councillors today supported my Mayoral Minute aimed at resolving the controversy surrounding the legality of clubs erecting sponsorship advertising on sporting ground fences,” Cr Williams said.

“I sought urgent advice when I became aware of the issue impacting Redlands Netball Association (RNA) at Pinklands and it was obvious that Council needed to take immediate action to rectify the situation.

“It was a major concern to me that sporting clubs, because of enforcement of a long-established local law relating to signage, may have lost important sponsorship, or their ability to attract sponsorship funds.

“Council has never sought in any way to restrict the ability of sporting organisations to seek and obtain sponsorship from third parties. The current situation is an unintended consequence of this Local Law, which Council seeks to rectify to remove any potential adverse impact on the clubs.

“The provisions of the subordinate local law could potentially lead to adverse impacts on those sporting organisations that have relied on revenue from third party sponsorship.”

Subordinate Local Law 1.4 (Installation of Advertising Devices) currently in place provides that sporting field fence signage must be facing inward and not be readily discernible from a road or other public place. Sports field fence signage typically includes third party advertising from sponsors of sporting organisations to help support the revenue base of those organisations.

Council received a complaint about signage on the fence at Pinklands Sporting Complex in August 2020. The signage was in breach of the Local Law, which requires an approval for the display of third party signage such as those put up by Redlands Netball Association given they faced outwards onto a public road.

This Local Law has been in place for many years and compliance is generally complaint driven.
“While Redland City Council’s Local Law is consistent with similar laws in place in other local government areas, dealing specifically with third party signage and visual amenity, Council recognises the importance of sponsorship revenue for clubs in managing their operations,” Cr Williams said.

“The proposed review to the Local Law is to ensure that appropriate opportunities be considered to allow sporting organisations to have additional revenue opportunities, whilst ensuring controls are in place to protect the amenity and visual appearance of sporting facilities across the City.

“Sponsorship support for sporting clubs is now particularly important due to the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on membership and participation in sport across the community.

“The Local Law has been set to meet the expectations of our community and avoid a proliferation of advertising signs to retain the visual amenity of our naturally-wonderful Redlands Coast.

“It is timely that Council review how support for sporting organisations may be enhanced through opportunities to fundraise through sponsorship signage revenue, subject to guidelines and conditions that may include the types of signs, size and location. This would include promoting equity of opportunity amongst sporting organisations as well as consistency with branding appropriate to Council owned and managed facilities.”

Council today resolved:
1. To urgently review Subordinate Local Law 1.4 (Installation of Advertising Devices) to consider allowing sporting organisations to have outward facing sporting field fence signage containing third party sponsorship advertising, subject to conditions that include no political advertising or signage.
2. That due to the impacts of COVID-19 in regards to sporting organisations on membership and participation, an amnesty of 12 months be announced in regards to existing and temporarily erected sporting field fence signage so that they can face a road or other public place.
3. That any such amnesty does not result in signage that is:
a) Illuminated
b) Adversely affecting public safety
c) Inappropriately impacting on the use and enjoyment of land or premises
d) Excessively affecting the visual amenity of an area
e) Not a permitted sign type, by triggering other assessments
f) Placed on a road, place or premises beyond the boundary fence of the sporting facility where the organisation is located.