Virgin Australia is Carlton’s co-major sponsor. Picture: Getty
Virgin Australia is Carlton’s co-major sponsor. Picture: Getty

Virgin’s financial ruin could see AFL, Carlton suffer

The AFL is hopeful its massive sponsorship deal with Virgin Australia will continue despite the airline being placed into voluntary administration after failed crisis talks.

The league has three years left on a five-year deal with Virgin signed in September 2018, with the beleaguered airline also Carlton's co-major sponsor.

Virgin was unable to secure a bailout package from the Federal government in recent days after requesting a $1.4 billion support package given debts of $5 billion.

It means accounting firm Deloitte has been brought in to consider a restructuring package that could potentially see the company looking to come to arrangements with creditors.

Voluntary administration is a step short of liquidation which would effectively see the company wound up, with the league hopeful the company can be reborn and continue its sponsorship of the league.

Some private equity firms have already been mooted as potential new owners for Virgin Australia, which ferries AFL footballers around the nation under the league's arrangement.

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Virgin Australia are co-major sponsors at Carlton alongside car makers Hyundai.

The AFL's deals with its corporate partners are worth tens of millions of dollars, with the league's sponsorship with official gaming partner BetEasy worth $10 million a season.

Carlton chief executive Cain Liddle made clear the Blues wanted to continue their association with Virgin during an online question-and-answer session earlier this month.

"There are times in which we lean on our partners and there are equally other times where our Partners need our continued support," he wrote.

"There is no doubt that this is a time where Virgin, as well as a number of our other sponsors, are experiencing difficult times. We are committed to working with each of our partners to continue to deliver value to them and ensure that we continue creating long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

"We are not saying there won't be some difficult financial realities for both us and our Partners over this time, however, we are committed to working through it together as a united club."


Originally published as Virgin's financial ruin could see AFL, Carlton suffer