Sanjeev Gupta and his businesses have never before aligned themselves with a sporting organisation, but Port Adelaide’s rich history, hard-working ethos and family and community values proved too hard to resist for the British businessman, who has signed a lucrative five-year agreement to be the club’s joint major sponsor.
The five-year partnership – announced today at a community event at Alberton Oval – marks the first time the Gupta family has partnered a major sporting club, demonstrating the confidence it has in Port Adelaide’s direction along with the alignment of its values
Speaking at the launch at Alberton Oval, the Chairman of GFG admitted it took some convincing by Port Adelaide Chairman David Koch to get the agreement over the line but he could not be happier to be part of the Port Adelaide family.
“When Kochie first came to me last year saying we, GFG, should become part of the club, saying we should sponsor the club, my first reaction was that this is not what we do,” Mr Gupta said.
“We have never gotten involved with sport, we’ve never gotten involved in sporting sponsorships, we are a hard-working industrial group and it just doesn’t come naturally.
“But Kochie, as you all know, is a very persistent man so he kept, kept, kept at it and he proved to me, convincingly, how all of GFG’s values, all of my family’s values, were closely aligned to your values.
“Sport of course, in itself is ultimately a symbol and measure and mirror for human endeavour, which I believe to be the case in industry.
“Hard work, ambition, the desire to grow, the desire to evolve, to go against the odds, to persevere, to endeavour – those are the basic values of sport and those are the basic values of industry and of course of GFG.”
As part of the agreement, the GFG logo will be seen on the back of both Port Adelaide’s white pre-season guernsey and black home-and-away guernsey and on the front of the club’s silver clash guernsey.
Speaking frankly of the decision, Mr Gupta said is mind was made up that the partnership needed to happen after attending a Power game at Adelaide Oval last season.
“The spirit was incredible, it was infectious. I could see how passionate everybody in the club was about sport and that led me to look into it more,” he said.
“I read and I found out, and Kochie explained to me, how deeply ingrained this club is into the community.
“Whether it’s industries or ports or other industries, how industry has been so closely associated with the club and what history it has, in Whyalla and other working towns like it.
“I was convinced that this association was closely aligned with our values, our values of family and community.
“And I believe that family and community are key in building industry. Industry is not something for the feint hearted. It takes long-term perseverance and it takes struggle, constantly. It’s the definition of life because for me life is about struggle, constant evolution, and industry epitomises that and your club also epitomises that.”
The partnership will see a number of joint initiatives across the Eyre Peninsula starting with Port Adelaide taking its AFL community camp next week to Whyalla.
There are also plans to take a pre-season clash to Whyalla in 2020 – the club’s 150th anniversary year.
Mr Gupta said he hoped to see the benefit of the partnership in Whyalla as well as in other parts of the state through Port Adelaide’s highly acclaimed community programs.
“My other ambition through my foundation, is to see the next generation, my children’s generation, in terms of bringing them into industry – and again the work that the club has with children and indigenous communities and so on, was a great part of our decision-making process,” Mr Gupta said.
“I will again stress that this is not a corporate sponsorship. Actually, this is an investment done by me personally, not by GFG, and it is my investment in community and my belief that I have to invest in community as much as I have to invest in industry.
“I have only been in Australia for a year and a half but the love, the acceptance, the welcome and the opportunities which I have been given to take decisions to invest in different types of our industries – that acceptance, that love, I wanted to give something back and say thank you.
“I am very grateful for the acceptance and love I get in South Australia and I am very proud to be part of your journey now for years to come.”
Port Adelaide’s community camp on Monday 18 February and Tuesday 19 February will include visits to schools, hospitals and nursing homes along with separate clinics for children and coaches in Whyalla and the surrounding region.