Things are looking up for embattled NRL club Gold Coast after it signed a major sponsor.
Resort development company Aquis Group is Gold Coast’s new naming rights and front-of-shirt sponsor for the rest of 2015 and the 2016 season and negotiations are already underway to extend a deal that comes as a lifeline following months of turmoil.
The club was placed into voluntary administration in February, prompting the NRL to step in and take over their licence.
That came at a time of ugly headlines when several Titans players were implicated in a drugs scandal.
To add insult to injury, the Titans subsequently had marquee signing Daly Cherry-Evans backflip on a multi-million deal to join them from next year.
Chief executive Graham Annesley was reluctant to describe the sponsorship as a “relief” on Friday, but that will be the overwhelming emotion for Titans fans.
“We think that financially this sets the club on the right path for the future,” he said.
“This just further cements the resurgence of the Gold Coast Titans in this area and the NRL competition.
“It’s more good news, there’s more to come, and this club will be a force in the not too distant future.”
Aquis is already the major sponsor of Super Rugby outfit ACT Brumbies, while the company last year said it was keen to help bankroll an A-League bid for Cairns-based state league soccer team Far North Queensland Heat.
The company is owned by Hong Kong-based property tycoon Tony Fung, who recently went on a multi-million dollar spending spree on the Gold Coast tourist strip.
Billionaire Fung has put Sheraton Mirage Resort on the Gold Coast under contract and plans to turn the beachside site into a luxury casino resort.
Fung has also bought properties in Surfers Paradise, Varsity Lakes and the Patinack Farm assets at Canungra, while Aquis is also behind a proposed $8.15 billion casino resort near Cairns.
Fung’s son, Aquis chief executive Justin Fung, said the company was motivated to help the Titans after watching them fall on hard times.
“I’m a big American sports fan. I understand clubs go through a bit of turmoil from time to time,” he told reporters.
“To be there during the tough times is probably the most important thing.
“We saw the situation with the Titans and their lack of a naming sponsor and we realised it was the perfect opportunity for us to provide some help.”
Fung denied suggestions the deal could see his family or Aquis take an ownership stake in the Titans.