Folau move good publicity says Demetriou - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Folau move good publicity says Demetriou

By Sam Lienert 14/06/2010 03:14:48 PM Comments (0)

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou says the multi-million dollar recruitment of NRL star Israel Folau has already more than earned its worth in publicity for the code.

Demetriou said the signing - to expansion club Greater Western Sydney (GWS) on a four-year deal, understood to be worth $4 million - had already generated the equivalent of more than $9 million in advertising.

He said the league would have struggled to produce anything like the same sort of promotional impact in NSW and Queensland with a marketing campaign.

"I don't think we've won the battle, but certainly we've been pleased with the publicity," Demetriou told Melbourne's SEN radio.

"I think the latest report we got was that the Israel Folau publicity generated in excess of about $9 million of publicity, which you can measure and cost.

"If we were to spend $2 million promoting AFL in NSW and Queensland it probably wouldn't get a blip on the radar, to be quite truthful.

"There's certainly a lot of awareness around GWS because of Folau, so from that perspective we are pleased.

"(But) we haven't won the battle, we've always said it's a long haul, we're going to have to do more than just attract publicity around Israel Folau." But he acknowledged Folau had a long, tough path ahead if he was to succeed as an AFL player.

After fellow rugby league recruit Karmichael Hunt's unremarkable VFL debut for Gold Coast on Saturday, Demetriou said Folau would face an even tougher transition.

"He has to learn a lot more that Karmichael Hunt, he hasn't played our game, which Karmichael Hunt has," Demetriou said.

"And certainly in Karmichael's case he has to work on some other areas, particularly his fitness and so forth and his body shape."

Meanwhile, Demetriou said he did not necessarily think it was in the game's best interests for Geelong superstar Gary Ablett to move to the Gold Coast, who have put forward a huge offer to try to lure the dual premiership Brownlow Medallist.

He said while an Ablett move would be a "bonanza" for Gold Coast, the club would not be built around one player and sentimentally, he liked the idea of the gun midfielder staying at the club where his father, Gary Ablett Sr, made the family name legendary.

"In many ways the romantic in me likes the thought of Gary Ablett playing at Geelong, he's been a great servant of Geelong."

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