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WIN Corp deal secures future of Illawarra
Written by: Dragons media
WIN CORPORATION, owner of Australia's largest and leading regional television network, has covered a substantial amount of the Illawarra Steelers debts to joint venture partner St George, which will enable the Dragons to continue playing home matches in Wollongong.

WIN Corporation Executive Chairman, Mr Andrew Gordon made the announcement today saying his media company's investment of $6.5m in the Steelers would enable the repayment of most of the club's debt to St George Leagues Club.

“WIN Corporation originated in the Illawarra and proudly it is still based here today.

WIN has always prided itself on showing strong support for locally based, national sporting teams,” said Mr Gordon. “We believe the Steelers are a fundamental thread in the fabric of this region and I do not intend for this district to lose hosting NRL matches at WIN Stadium.

“The deal is conditional on the Dragons arranging a new license agreement with the NRL until 2011 and negotiating a similar term arrangement with Wollongong Sportsground Trust – allowing the St George Illawarra Dragons to play half of their home matches at WIN Stadium, plus a NRL pre-season fixture annually.”

Mr Gordon said that besides providing the funding, which will be used solely to discharge the majority of the Steelers debt to St George Leagues Club; WIN Corporation will also receive 24 per cent of the Steelers share in the joint venture.

“We will also provide business opportunities and management to improve the performance of the Steelers Club and ensure long-term continuation in the NRL by way of the joint venture,” he added.

Steelers Chairman, Mr Peter Newell said his directors and members were indebted to Andrew Gordon, WIN Corporation and of course Bruce Gordon for their support of the club and the benefits NRL participation brings to the Illawarra region's economy.

“The amount of money WIN Corporation has made available is one of the biggest investments that I can recall involving sport in the Illawarra,” said Mr Newell. “The Steelers will still carry a level of debt, but WIN have given us the chance to not only survive, but will work with us on our future.”

Mr Newell said that Andrew Gordon would be appointed to the St George Illawarra Dragons Board as one of the Steelers representatives.

“WIN Corporation CEO, Mr George Papadopoulos will also be invited to join the Illawarra Steelers Board in an ex-officio capacity. Both these appointments will add strength and business experience to the respective boards.

“The Steelers debts will not only be substantially reduced, but WIN's involvement will enable the club to continue the propagation and development of the game of rugby league in the Illawarra and South Coast region,” Mr Newell said.

St George Leagues Club and Dragons Chairman Warren Lockwood, who welcomed the involvement of WIN Corporation with the Dragons explains its impacts for the Dragons and St George Leagues Club.

“A commitment from a corporate partner of the quality of WIN Corporation is a major coup for rugby league across the region and the game itself,” said Mr Lockwood.

“In times when there is continuing pressure being mounted on the Licensed Clubs, debt reduction programs are essential.

“The St George Leagues Club has always understood and supported the strategy of the St George Illawarra Dragons from the beginning. An essential component of this strategy, was sustaining viability of the Steelers and their contributions to the Dragons.

“The repayment of capital and interest on loans extended by the St George Leagues Club will enable the Licensed Club to plan for its next phase of refurbishment and better cope with the pressure from increasing poker machine tax.”


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