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Optus scoops up Melbourne Stars sponsorship from troubled Dick Smith

Twenty20 cricket team Melbourne Stars has signed Optus as its principal partner for the remainder of the 2015-2016 season and for a further two years.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Twenty20 Cricket team Melbourne Stars has signed Optus as its principal partner and the club's official mobile media partner, following the swift departure of the Star's former principal partner, electronics retailer Dick Smith.

The telco will step in immediately for the remainder of the Big Bash League (BBL) Five season and will stay with the Melbourne-based team for a further two years.

As part of the deal, Optus holds branding assets including a prominent logo on the Star's playing jersey and training gear, signage, as well as activation opportunities at matches and player appearances.

"We see this long term partnership as one of the most significant Club sponsorship deals in BBL history and we thank Optus for actioning this opportunity to allow the organisations to begin leveraging the partnership this season," Melbourne Stars CEO Clint Cooper said.

Building on the telco's existing partnership with Cricket Australia, eligible customers of Optus will be able to stream BBL matches live via their Cricket Australia Live Pass.

It is not Optus' first sporting rodeo having won the exclusive Australian broadcast rights to the English Premier League (EPL) for the next three seasons beginning August 2016. The EPL was previously at the hands of pay TV provider Foxtel's Fox Sports.

"This is another significant step in our strategy to become a mobile-led multimedia company," Optus CEO Allen Lew said at the time.

"We are dedicated to delivering the best domestic and international entertainment for our customers. With 930 million followers worldwide, the Premier League is one of the most sought-after sports properties for content providers."

Lew had previously told ZDNet that his company has developed a three-year strategy for media and entertainment, with the Melbourne Star's unplanned partnership slotting nicely into the telco's plan.

It was announced on Tuesday that electronics retailer Dick Smith had been placed in voluntary administration after failing to secure a funds injection from its banks.

"Whilst confident on the long-term viability of the company, the directors have been unsuccessful in obtaining the necessary support of its banking syndicate to see it through this period," chairman Rob Murray said.

The company blamed its financial woes on worse-than-expected sales and cash generation in December, continuing the weak trend from previous months. Murray said the company explored alternative funding, but concluded that this would not be secured in time to order the required inventory during the next four to six weeks.

"We would like to acknowledge the terrific role Optus has played in enormously assisting the Melbourne Stars club in its time of need," television presenter Eddie McGuire said on Wednesday.

"It is a tribute to the administrations from both organisations that this mutually beneficial partnership was able to be actioned. We look forward to developing this relationship further over the next two seasons for the benefit of Optus customers and Melbourne Stars members and fans."

The opening game of the fifth Big Bash season saw more than 1.5 million people tune in around Australia, according to Cricket.com.au.

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