Drop in supporters club membership a concern

Date: 5th December 2012

The Stawell Athletic Club is concerned that a significant drop in Official Supporters Club membership may continue in 2013, a result that would affect a crucial element of the success of the Australia Post Stawell Gift.

Already facing the loss of Retravision who were a major supporter through sponsorship of the high-profile Herb Hedemann invitation mile, the Club is keen to return the Official Supporters Club back to the record levels achieved three years ago.

President of Stawell Athletic Club Scotney Hayter said that the Official Supporters Club membership was very poorly subscribed last year.

“Two years ago we had 87 Official Supporters Club members, but last year we only had 42.

“Whilst we understand that some businesses are unable to participate every year, it is a crucial contributor to the significant costs of putting on the Gift each year.

“We say to all businesses who annually benefit from the Gift in Stawell that $275 is a small price to pay to ensure the event is alive and well and forever in Stawell.”

2013 celebrates the 132nd running of the Australia’s most famous footrace.

“In 2010, when the future of the Gift in Stawell was on knife’s edge, local businesses dug deep. Our goal is to get all those businesses back on board – and to attract new support. Simply put, the Gift needs local business support to survive.”

Hayter said the Club encouraged businesses across the Grampians region to support the Gift by either signing up to the Official Supporters Club or becoming a sponsor through the sponsorship program.

The Official Supporters Club is an entry level support category whilst the sponsorship program attracts higher level businesses that are interested in a partnership in exchange for extensive marketing benefits.

“The event cannot continue to maintain its position as the most prestigious and richest footrace in the southern hemisphere without the help of the local community,” continued Hayter.

“The event defines Stawell as a town and provides the opportunity to showcase us as the very best in regional Victoria.”

Grampians Estate winery has been a sponsor of the Gift for three years, and owner Tom Guthrie encourages other business to support the region’s hallmark event.

“As a business in the Stawell region (we are based at Great Western), it has enabled us to get fantastic exposure to the local market. That commitment to the Gift has encouraged local businesses such as hotels, motels and supermarkets to support us. We also developed the Stawell Gift range of wines, a percentage of the sales returning to the Stawell Athletic Club to further promote the event. Any sponsorship requires getting something in return, and we certainly feel we get good value for our investment,” Guthrie said.

Northern Grampians Shire Council CEO Justine Linley has previously estimated the event to have an annual economic impact of close to $10 million, however it costs the Stawell Athletic Club over $500,000 to stage each year.

The Australia Post Stawell Gift will be held over the Easter long weekend from March 29 to April 1, 2013.

The Stawell Athletic Club has mailed information on the Official Supporters Club to local businesses this week, and the information is also available on the Club website at www.stawellgift.com

Businesses who are interested in partnering with the Gift are encouraged to contact the new office manager at the Club, Wendy O’Connor on 5358 1326.


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