Powerful Marketing from Courier Mail
Rugby League State of Origin is back, and the fireworks look like being off the field, as well as on it, again in 2012. Last year the Courier Mail and Brisbane indigenous radio station 98.9FM teamed up to broadcast a Queensland-centric call of the final Origin game.
They were threatened with legal action by Fairfax, who had paid a significant amount of money to obtain the radio rights, however the action was dropped on the day of the hearing.
The 'Radio Maroon' commentary team, consisting of Channel 10 Brisbane newsreader Bill McDonald and former Origin players Steve Renouf, Adrian Lam and Paul Green is planning to broadcast the series this year as an alternative to what the Courier Mail believes is commentary teams stacked with NSW fans.
"Our readers spoke very strongly last year – they were sick of the Blues fans disguised as commentators," The Courier-Mail editor Michael Crutcher said. "It gave Queenslanders the chance to turn down the volume on their TVs and turn up the radio to hear a call seen through Maroon eyes. But we had to fend off the lawyers last year. I expect that will happen again this year."
Of course, the reality is that whether the commentators are biased or not, this is a wonderful exercise in marketing, and branding, the Courer Mail as a parochial, fervent Queensland-centric newspaper. Ironically, it has less to do with the call, and more to do with the positioning of the newspaper.
And on that basis, it's a powerful annual tactic – irrespective of whether it goes ahead (which appears likely) or is pulled for legal reasons. Either outcome achieves the desired goal for the Courier Mail.
Radio Maroon will broadcast the Melbourne Origin match next Wednesday night from 7.30.