Wednesday, March 21, 2007


On Monday Wellington was confirmed as host for a New Zealand franchise in the A-League football competition. Terry Serepisos fronted up with NZ$1.2m at the last minute recognising that he will "lose some money in the first year".

The Herald quotes Serepisos: "[m]ost of this is coming from the heart... [a]nd it's for the children of New Zealand, because I think if the A-League wasn't in place it would be a big loss".

Serepisos' company is no stranger to sport sponsorship. But is his contribution a form of sponsorship, investment, or philanthropy?

Clearly most of the answer will lie with his accountant, but the implications of securing A-League action for Wellington are vast.

It's great to see that a civic asset (the cake tin) will be utilised more often than every second weekend, and I'm looking forward to a genuine diversification beyond rugby rugby rugby this winter. Further, football fans coming to the city are likely to have greater economic impact than netball and basketball combined.

These positives can genuinely be seen as community benefit - and given that there will likely be a cash loss for one of the three years the positives are substantially altruistic. This then seems to satisfy a definition of philanthropy.

There are certainly elements of sponsorship and investment (the sub-franchisee is called Century City Football). Labour and later National have accepted that charitable donations need to be more favourably taxed than they are now. Maybe Serepisos sees this "investment" as a means of circumventing the presently onerous charity tax regime.

Community benefits aside, New Zealand may now have a better chance of repeating 1982, maybe we'll even witness something as significant as Pele wheeling away from goal a-la 1970.

This is something we Wellingtonians must get behind.


Anonymous said...

"Serepisos' company is no stranger to sport sponsorship. But is his contribution a form of sponsorship, investment, or philanthropy?"

Terry's not known for his generosity towards clients (who get to live in his crappy apartments), employees (who have to pretty much sue him before he gets paid) or the city (which suffers from buildings like the old Te Aro BNZ and the Prudential Building being ruined by his cheap, ugly additions). Still, it's good to see someone other than Ferrari dealers and Versace getting the benefits.

mikeymike said...

Hmmm. I have to agree that the BNZ addition in particular is bad.

There's info somewhere at WellUrban on that in the context of poor additions across the city. It's a criticism that was quite vocal 18 months or so ago. Cant find the exact link sorry.

I'm not particularly familiar with Serepisos' business practices, but if they've been questionable to date the football contribution looks on the face of it to be a turn for the better.