Australia’s top swimmers will earn a share of the sport’s commercial revenue for the first time after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Swimming Australia.
The Australian Swimmers’ Association has struck a deal with the sport’s governing body to ensure athletes earn a share of commercial revenue from sponsorship, broadcast rights and licensing.
“This is really a historic moment in our sport. It’s the first time we’ve had this sort of agreement,” champion swimmer and ASA president Bronte Campbell told reporters on Monday, a day after world championship trials concluded.
“As we’re seeing across sports in this nation and worldwide, athletes having a voice is important for the success of the sport and the reason we wanted this agreement was to ensure that that athlete voice gets included and elevated.
“We started talking about this about two years ago with the swimming cohort. I’m very proud of the swimming group which has supported our efforts. It’s been quite a long time coming.
“They’ve been very patient and at the same time doing their thing in the pool, but knowing that we’re looking after them and getting this negotiation finished and finally signed off.”
Campbell admitted the additional income stream, beyond Australian Sports Commission support and a Hancock Prospecting sponsorship, would be crucial to keeping top swimmers in the sport, rather than turning to corporate or other careers in their late 20s or early 30s.
“We’re not trying to debilitate the sport by taking money away – we’re trying to share in the success that comes to the sport via the success of the swimmers,” Campbell said.
“In order to swim professionally and have a long career, finances play a big part in that, a very big part in that.
“So to be able to tie the success of the sport, to the swimmers sharing in that I think is really important and a really important step forward.”
Swimming Australia president Michelle Gallen confirmed the model would be a tiered approach.
“Certainly a lack of I guess that stability means that new people like myself need to get back up to speed,” she said.
“But I think we’ve always had that commitment to work with the swimmers.
“We’re really excited to kind of all be now in the same tent so that any success is our success.”
Meanwhile Gallen said a decision on a new chief executive was still three or four months away, with a recruitment consultant recently appointed.
Steve Newman is in the role on an interim basis after Eugenie Buckley’s shock resignation in April.
(Australian Associated Press)