Cashing in on names worth a guernsey
IT MAY seem like a trivial issue in the face of big-ticket items on the AFL agenda, but the concept of having a player's surname on the back of his match-day guernsey must be explored.
Indeed, it would appear to be a win-win for all parties.
For the spectator on match day, particularly those of the less-fanatical leaning, names would quickly and clearly identify who is on the field.
It would also help the television viewer, and perhaps commentator, as do the named jumpers in the world's premier soccer leagues and America's NFL and NBA. Australia's one-day international and Twenty20 teams have also adopted this lead.
For the AFL, clubs, players and their managers, it looms as a commercial success, as supporters may be more tempted to buy the guernseys and T-shirts of their favourite players.
Marketing guru John Tripodi, the co-founder and chief executive of Twenty3 Sport + Entertainment, said there was merit in exploring the idea.
''Little Johnny walking down the street and he has got [the name of] Buddy Franklin on his back - that can only increase an individual's brand value as such. It would be difficult to quantify at this stage but it certainly is an interesting one,'' he said.
However, Tripodi said the AFL and clubs could have different perspectives. ''If you look at an NRL guernsey, take a Melbourne Storm, it is so much more cluttered than an AFL guernsey. I think the AFL would be really conscious of not cluttering that up,'' he said.
''I think the AFL clubs will look at what is best for the club perspective - should it be a player's name or should that extra piece of real estate potentially be for a sponsor?''
''Each stakeholder will have a different viewpoint.''
Already, T-shirts emblazoned with the likes of ''Judd 5'' have been a success, and have speared local merchandise into the modern age.
Retro gear has also been a success overseas, with sales for the likes of basketball superstars Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson still strong.
Perhaps a portion of the financial takings from this could go towards the AFL Players Association's hardship fund for those struggling in life post-football?
At a time when many clubs are struggling to secure new revenue streams, all possibilities must be considered. This could help the player and club and be introduced with a minimum of fuss.