A TRIP home to Bathurst for the Anzac Day dawn service returned an unexpected dividend for Cronulla Sharks chairman Damian Irvine.
When the NRL side takes the field against the Canberra Raiders in an elimination semi-final tomorrow, their jerseys will bear the fruits of a sponsorship deal born in Bathurst.
“I travelled home to support dad [Vietnam veteran Bruce Irvine] at the dawn service and called in to the BP service station on Stewart Street to fill up and grab a drink,” Mr Irvine told the Western Advocate.
“I saw a can of Shark energy drink, which I hadn’t been aware of before, and grabbed one.”
At the time the Sharks were looking for a major sponsor, and the possible links to the Sharks club were too good an opportunity to pass up.
“I could not believe I didn’t know about it,” Mr Irvine said.
“I followed up when I got back to Sydney and contacted Shark Energy. It was a new brand and, after a couple of meetings, they got on board because of the perfect fit between our two organisations.”
To acknowledge the service station’s key role in the sponsorship deal, Shark Energy Australia general manager Fiona Kay visited Bathurst this week to present BP Stewart Street with a framed and signed Cronulla Sharks jersey.
“BP Reliance has been selling our product nationally since it was introduced in Australia in December 2011,” Ms Kay said.
“Damian contacted me after his visit to Bathurst and the three-year sponsorship arrangement was a perfect fit for both of us.”
Ms Kay said the company, which is based in Thailand, dates back to 1965 and exports its energy drink to 80 countries.
“Across all our brands, we sell one billion units a year, targeting the 18-35 age group,” she said.
“It’s a a fun brand, we’re more into sun, sea and surf than extreme sports.”
Ms Kay said the presentation was a way of thanking BP Stewart Street for putting the two organisations together.
The Sharks have also gained a committed new fan.
“Although I’m based in Brisbane, I’ve attended all their games since we got on board and I’m a confirmed Sharks supporter, even though I live in Queensland,” Ms Kay said. “I now know all the rules.”