'Absolute joke': Uproar over Sydney Opera House 'disgrace'

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·2-min read
John Barilaro, pictured here slamming the Sydney Opera House Trust.
John Barilaro has labelled the Opera House Trust a 'disgrace'. Image: Getty

The NSW Deputy Premier has savaged the The Sydney Opera House Trust over mooted plans to charge sporting teams $50,000 to use the image of the iconic landmark.

The Sydney Swans, Sydney Kings, Sydney Roosters and Sydney FC all use a likeness of the Opera House in their team logos - which reportedly drew a $1000 fee from the Trust in the past.

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However reports of a plan to increase that fee to $50,000 have sparked outrage.

The Opera House Trust have since backed down, but not before a withering rebuke from Deputy Premier John Barilaro.

“This is a disgrace. It’s iconic, it’s Australian, it’s not just Sydney,” Barilaro told 2GB's Ben Fordham on Tuesday.

The Sydney Roosters and Sydney Swans, pictured here with the Opera House in their logos.
The Sydney Roosters and Sydney Swans both use a likeness of the Opera House. Image: Supplied

“It represents everything we are, the Opera House isn’t just for the elite of Sydney through culture and art, but it represents every Australian.

“This $50,000 asking price is an absolute joke, a disgrace.

“It is a cash grab at a time when businesses are hurting. The Opera House thinks it’s above all that.”

Barilaro called on the Trust to drop the fee altogether, especially at a time when businesses (including sporting teams) are struggling financially due to the coronavirus crisis.

“This is just a cash grab by an elite group of society and something that I’m bloody annoyed with,” he said.

“Drop it altogether, even if there was a marginal fee previously, this is an opportunity for the Opera House to be a good corporate citizen.”

Opera House Trust defend fee for logo

The Opera House Trust provided a statement to 2GB defending the fee.

“Since mid-2019, we have undertaken negotiations regarding a new trade mark licence agreement with the NBL,” the statement said.

“In light of the current economic climate and our long-standing relationship with the Sydney Kings, the Opera House offered a reduced fee over a shorter three-year period.

“Unfortunately, there was no response from the NBL to this offer despite a number of attempts to follow up.

The Sydney Kings, pictured here with their Opera House logo.
The Sydney Kings also use the Opera House in their logo. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“Financial arrangements with our partners are commercial in confidence. However, the reported $50K annual licence fee does not reflect the latest reduced offer made to the NBL.

“The Opera House is a valued community asset and the iconic sails have become a globally-recognised brand.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, we need to balance our support for other cultural entities with safeguarding one of our most valuable assets.”

The Sydney Kings are believed to be undertaking a rebrand of their logo after deciding the current one is no longer “cost-viable.”