Two Teams, One Family. It’s easy to say, not so easy to put into action and even harder to do so successfully.
But it has been this approach that has seen Melbourne Storm and Sunshine Coast Lightning – both owned by the Storm Group - launching an assault on another finals campaign in the NRL and Super Netball competitions.
Aside from the challenges COVID-19 has presented to all sporting teams on the field and the downturn of the world economy off it, Storm and Lightning have again shown that strength lies in consistency of values and performance.
2020 hasn’t been without its challenges, however, as the Storm Group had to make difficult decisions to ensure both Storm and Lightning remained competitive on and off the field.
Storm were temporarily relocated to the Sunshine Coast to keep their NRL season alive and, as borders were shut, it meant the end of live Rugby League for the Victorian based Melbourne Storm members in 2020.
On a sponsorship front, sadly Tigerair (owned by Virgin Australia) announced they would discontinue as an airline, ending an eight-year relationship with the Storm. This has, however, opened the door for new partners eager to join the Storm Group, an attractive position given the Storm jersey has consistently earned more media value than any other team across the AFL and NRL in the past five years.
In a major boost, Storm announced an extension of the front of jersey partnership with RedZed and Lightning have announced the re-signing of their Principal partner, Downer, for another two seasons.
The Storm Group also welcome two Sunshine Coast-based businesses – Rockcote and Fuel Your Life – who joined the Storm Family in recent weeks, forging a partnership with both teams. They join Springfree, Brick Lane and Hostplus in a growing list of partners who are supporting both Storm and Lightning.
Lightning has also continued to attract new business in 2020, securing partnerships with Pure Gold Pineapples, Plungie Pools and Bioweed in recent weeks.
Storm Group Chairman, Matt Tripp, said his first six months in the chair presented him and his board - Bart Campbell, Gerry Ryan and Danielle Smith – with some of the most challenging decisions of their time as private owners.
“We had some very difficult decisions to make as the seriousness of COVID become clearer. We knew both teams would face an enormous challenge just to get players on the field, but we were not alone of course,” Tripp said.
“What was clear to us was the need to hold on to our staff and provide them with some certainty in what was an increasingly uncertain period.
“We also knew that we needed to support our partners and members who are critical to the running of our football and netball programs. For us, being a partner of Storm and Lightning is more than just branding. We want to make it a genuine partnership where we all get the chance to ride the highs and lows together.”
The fact Storm Group continues to attract commercial partners during an economic downturn speaks loudly of its approach to being Two Teams, One Family.
To find out more about a partnership with the Storm Group contact Daniel Cullinan, General Manager Commercial.
Mobile: 0427 682 403
Follow the Lightning and Storm as they head into their Preliminary Finals: Lightning V Fever, Preliminary Final, Sunday 11 October, 12pm USC Stadium. Storm V TBC, Preliminary Final, Friday 16 October, 6.50pm Suncorp Stadium
Source: True North 2019, Nielsen Sports 2019