Illawarra Hawks on tenterhooks following Vocus meltdown

The Hawks must now wait to see if the Vocus board melt-down is going to have any material effect on them. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

The Hawks must now wait to see if the Vocus board melt-down is going to have any material effect on them. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

As Ridge Forrester's boardroom rivals in the Bold and the Beautiful know only too well, when Ridge goes postal, the ripple effect can be tumultuous. 

Just ask the ten-foot tall specimens currently sweating it out on the basketball court for Wollongong's representatives in the National Basketball League, the mighty Illawarra Hawks.

Already smarting from their 84-88 defeat Friday night in the 'Gong at the hands of the Sydney Kings, the Hawks now must wait nervously to see if Australia's favourite corporate soap opera - the Vocus board melt-down - is going to have any material effect on them too.

Why? Because James Spenceley, the millionaire former CEO of Vocus whose failed boardroom putsch last Tuesday night has earned him the moniker as the Ridge Forrester of Australian business – also happens to be the owner of the Hawks. And right now, Vocus – the company from whose board he stood down – is one of the team's main corporate sponsors. 

James Spenceley at Vocus Communications at North Sydney in 2015. Picture: BEN RUSHTON

James Spenceley at Vocus Communications at North Sydney in 2015. Picture: BEN RUSHTON

As any of Spenceley's former Vocus suppliers will tell you, he's been a fervent advocate of the team since he bought it back in 2014. And – as befits any proud owner – has never been backward in coming forward when it comes to trying to sell the benefits of a Hawks sponsorship package. 

As Spenceley himself said back in August 2014, after forking out "north of a million dollars" to pull the club back from the brink of administration: "It's like a business in that way. If you get the right people around you in the right positions, you can do well."

How prophetic.

Rear Window understands the new-look executive at Vocus, overseen by CEO Geoff "I'm Still Standing" Horth is not about to wind up the company's association with the Hawks. How very magnanimous. 

Sponsorships are still open, mind. And for the bargain basement price of $15,000 (ex GST), you too could nab yourself a corporate box. To be courtside, that is. In Wollongong. At the WIN Entertainment Centre. Which will also play host in the next few months to a John Paul Young revival concert and a Blues Brothers cover band. Where do we sign up?

Australian Financial Review

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