AIS chief says new branding will help raise funds for athletes

AIS chief says new branding will help raise funds for athletes

The Australian Institute of Sport has defended the half-million-dollar price tag for its new logo, insisting the rebranding will help develop more funding for athletes, not take money from their pockets.

Dual gold medallist Kieren Perkins said the merit of the decision would be determined by whether it generated more revenue to help Australia's Olympic medal tally.

The gold-dominated logo replaces the red-and-blue design the organisation has used since its inception 31 years ago, as Australia targets a top-five finish at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

At the logo's unveiling on Monday, Australian Sports Commission CEO Simon Hollingsworth revealed that the research, design and initial refitting had so far cost $500,000.

''We spent about $300,000 focusing on the commercial analysis and creative side, but in terms of the rollout of the capital, we spent $200,000 refitting,'' said Hollingsworth.


''There will be some additional costs as we roll it out, but that will be part of our capital works program.''

The new logo consists of five golden lines resembling tracks, sleekly curved into the shape of Australia.

After Australia's poor showing at the 2012 London Games the Winning Edge program was introduced this year, with the AIS no longer offering scholarships but putting the onus on individual sports to take responsibility for funding, development and athletes.

Hollingsworth was adamant no athlete or sport has had funding reduced due to the rebranding.

''In the grand scheme of our total investment in sport, this investment is quite a small one,'' Hollingsworth said.

''We believe this investment will create significantly more revenue for the AIS, which we will then reinvest back into the sports.

''While there is some upfront cost, you have to weigh that up against the long-term benefits.

''It's legitimate to always ask when you spend money on these things, particularly when it's taxpayers' dollars, what is the value of it.

''It will generate new sponsorship and commercial arrangements, which will bring more money in for athletes,'' Hollingsworth said.

''The spending comes from the capital side of our budget, so it's not money we would otherwise spend directly on athletes.''

Hollingsworth said the AIS would foot the bill for the sports to update their uniforms, with hockey the first to complete the process.

The AIS sought the opinion of commercial partners, past and present athletes and the sports about the logo and what it should represent.

Perkins, a former Australian Sports Commission board member, said the AIS was constantly charged with treading the fine line of making decisions that benefited marketing and athlete development.

''It doesn't matter what the AIS does, there's going to be some people upset with the direction they take,'' Perkins said.

He said he assumed a cost-benefit program was done around the reasons for the rebranding, and when the board made the decision, it recognised the potential to increase revenue.


''I spent seven years on the board myself, and you've got that trade-off between providing the best environment for gold medallists to flourish, versus keeping a broad base of people engaged.

''No one wants to see any individual disadvantaged through a policy, but most people would agree what the AIS is trying to achieve is as much international success as they can.''