The Chancellor of UNE, Richard Torbay, said the continued sponsorship meant that the Parramatta Eels would hold their pre-season camp in Armidale again next year, and that it would include a trial match against the Newcastle Knights.
“The Eels sponsorship is part of the University’s strategy to expand its brand awareness and create partnerships to explore new business opportunities,” Mr Torbay said.
UNE’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jim Barber, said that the partnership with one of the country’s best-known National Rugby League teams complemented the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and new specialties in sports management and physical education.
“We hope to further enhance our reputation for sporting excellence in the coming years, and the Eels are part of that strategy,” Professor Barber said.
“Our partnership with UNE not only offers our players an important pathway to furthering their education, but also gives us access to some of the best sports science facilities in the country,” said the Parramatta Eels’ Chief Executive, Bob Bentley. “We think it’s important to ensure that players have a meaningful career when their playing days are over, and higher education plays a key part in that.”
The newly-appointed Eels Welfare and Education Officer, Luke Burt, said that the continued partnership was in accord with the Eels’ and the NRL’s encouragement of players to undertake higher education and training.
Professor Barber said that the Eels’ territory in Western Sydney was a significant market for UNE, with more than 2,000 distance education students residing in the area.
He said that UNE’s presence would increase in 2013, when the University opened its Future Campus on Church Street, Parramatta.
“The Future Campus will give distance education students the opportunity to collaborate with peers and instructors through cutting-edge video-conferencing facilities,” Professor Barber said. “The Future Campus and our sponsorship with the Parramatta Eels are about reminding people that learning can be fun – and can happen anywhere and at any time.”
The Future Campus is expected to open to students from Trimester 1, 2013.
Clicking on the Eels logo displayed here reveals a photograph of Professor Jim Barber and the Eels’ coach, Ricky Stuart, celebrating the re-signing of the sponsorship.