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Major sponsors appear happy to stick with Sharks

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 16/06/2012

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Despite the Southland Sharks' poor season, major sponsors are remaining loyal.

Southern Institute of Technology business services manager Bharat Guha said naming rights sponsorship from SIT was decided on a year-by-year basis.

SIT met with the Sharks' board of directors once a year to discuss sponsorship, but the meeting for next season had not been held yet, he said.

"It [basketball] is a young person's sport and SIT is happy to be involved," Guha said.

While the Sharks had had an "unfortunate season", all of the information was taken into consideration, and SIT chief executive Penny Simmonds would decide whether sponsorship would continue, he said. When asked how much SIT paid the Sharks in sponsorship, Guha declined to comment, saying it was "commercially sensitive information".

Rodney Tait, general manager of Wilbur Ellis, the Sharks' platinum sponsor, said the success of the team had an impact on whether they would sponsor again to a certain extent, but they would probably be in either way, unless the team's results were really poor. He said the Sharks received good coverage in local media and sponsoring them was great for brand awareness.

"People in the community see we are involved and they like it," he said.

Placemakers representative Hamish Gutsell said the company hoped to continue its sponsorship because it saw basketball as a sport that linked well with its customers.

Michael Lee from WHK said they decided to sponsor the team from day one because the Sharks brand was something new and innovative in Southland that had "a good flavour to it".

He said WHK would continue to sponsor the Sharks and people needed to "look at the big picture" even though the Sharks had one or two areas that needed improvement.

One of the trust funders, the Community Trust of Southland, has made a commitment for three years to grant the Sharks $70,000 a year, ending in 2014.

Sharks general manager Jill Bolger said they would be approaching all current funders for sponsorship again this year.

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- Southland

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