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Marketing Featured ANZ

APL unites football in Australia, launches new brand ‘A-Leagues’

Australia – The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has revealed its new ‘A-Leagues’ brand which will unify the men’s, women’s, and youth football leagues.

As part of the change, the men’s and women’s elite competitions will be recast as partners at the top of the game, with A-Leagues using football’s position as the country’s most inclusive sport to grow the game for everyone. 

Moreover, the A-Leagues will be moving to a unified social media channel for men’s and women’s football on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok in the coming months and will re-launch a new A-Leagues website, creating a single destination for fans of professional football in Australia and significantly increasing the profile and reach of women’s football.  

Danny Townsend, the managing director of APL, said the new A-Leagues brand has a simple idea at its core, and that they are committed to growing the game for everyone in  Australia, which means delivering a world-class experience on and off the pitch and inspiring the next generation of A-Leagues superstars to fulfill their highest potential. 

“This is just the beginning of our ambitious, long-term vision for the growth of football in Australia,” added Townsend. 

Meanwhile, Ant Hearne, APL’s chief commercial officer, said, “We know our fans live and breathe football so we want to create the best possible experience in the stadium, at  home, on the move, through gaming or fashion or food – however fans want to connect with football, we will deliver.”

APL said that the new A-Leagues 2021 to 2022 season will kick off on 19 November for A-League Men and 3 December for A-League Women. 

In addition, the A-Leagues will be soon revealing a digital football platform to become the home of football in Australia, bringing fans closer to the world’s game. It will also continue to showcase emerging Australian talents, including emerging stars who have already played central roles at the Olympics after making headlines on the domestic stage last season.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

APL welcomes three new execs as part of growth strategy

Australia – The Australian Professional Leagues (APL), a soccer league agency in Australia, has recently appointed three new senior executives to put in place the league’s commercial and marketing functions, which is part of APL’s growth strategy.

The new appointees are Ryan Sandilands, the first commercial director of APL; Rob Nolan, the new head of marketing and data operations function, and Stacey Knox, the new executive member of the marketing team.

Sandilands brings his 20 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry to the agency. He previously led commercial growth and strategic planning for companies such as Cirque du Soleil, Women’s Tennis Association, and City Football Group, as well as AEG. Sandilands will now be responsible for supercharging the commercial and operational capabilities of APL and club commercial teams.

Meanwhile, Nolan comes with 20 years of global marketing experience, working with companies such as Kayo Sports, News Corp, and iflix. He previously built data capability with data agency Digital Alchemy to fuel growth, done in collaboration with various telcos, such as Virgin Mobile, Vodafone, and O2. Nolan will now lead the marketing and data operations function of APL, and will attempt to engage football fans on a one-to-one basis. 

Along with Sandilands and Nolan, Knox also joins the APL marketing team. She will be responsible for transforming the agency’s operational capability to ready the execution of APL’s direct-to-consumer strategy. Knox brings with her over two decades of experience in global marketing organizations and agencies, previously working with Coca-Cola, News Limited, and Inchcape, as well as a coach and mentor to industry bodies and not-for-profit organizations.

According to Ant Hearne, the chief commercial officer of APL, “This team is here to innovate and supercharge the commercial and marketing capabilities of the APL, as we realize our reinvention as a leading football entertainment company. We’re seeing the most entertaining football on the pitch and it’s our job to take that directly to fans with a world-class fan experience and content offering.”

The agency has also announced other new hires, namely Danny Townsend, the new managing director, and Michael Tange, the new digital director, as well as Tracey Scott, the new deputy commissioner in the APL leadership group.

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Marketing Featured ANZ

APL unveils new execs to take helm of its marketing and digital business

Australia – Australia’s professional men’s football league, Australian Professional Leagues (APL), has recently announced new hires, to take the helm of its marketing and sponsorships business as well as its digital development efforts and media rights. 

Ant Hearne (picured left), former chief commercial officer at sports streaming service, Kayo, assumes the same role in APL; while, Michael Tange (pictured right), former strategy consultant at Rugby authority, Rugby Australia, is appointed to the position of Strategy and Digital Director

The appointments are the first of the ones to come ahead, following the league’s announcement of the unbundling of four professional football leagues from Football Australia in December.

Hearne joins the team to set up and lead all commercial activities for APL, including user experience, marketing, and content, as well as sponsorships, rights negotiations, and other revenue opportunities. 

Aside from Kayo, Hearne also stood as CCO to other streaming services of pay television company Foxtel such as BINGE, WatchAFL, and WatchNRL. His career in Australia, Asia, and the US incorporates senior marketing and commercial roles in telco, digital media, marketing tech, and sports entertainment. 

Meanwhile, Tange is charged with leading strategy, digital development, and media rights for APL. He brings with him 15 years of experience managing global roles with sports, data, and technology companies. He joins from Nielsen Sports in New York where he spent a decade working on commercial strategy, broadcast, digital, and fan development with leading properties such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, PGA TOUR, and Major League Soccer.

“With full ownership of the four leagues, we have an ambitious vision for the growth of the game at every level. The new, expanded executive team [has] been tasked with unleashing the APL’s commercial and entrepreneurial capabilities, and we now have a structure that will enable them to deliver the right outcomes for all of Australian football,” said Paul Lederer, chair of APL

Meanwhile, Hearne, the new CCO, reiterates the sport’s growth opportunity in Australian sport, having twice as many participants as any other game in the country. 

“It’s now time to deliver commercial outcomes that will fuel the sustainable growth of the game. Our teams are playing exciting, fast-paced, uncompromising football in front of the most passionate fans and it’s the APL’s mission [to] take that direct-to-consumer in order to unlock the power of the fan and ultimately grow the whole game. It’s going to be an exciting ride,” said Hearne.

APL Commissioner Greg O’Rourke continues to lead the operational side of the business in conjunction with Deputy Commissioner Tracey Scott.