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What s in a name? $50,000
Rugby WA CEO Mark Sinderberry and Western Force Captain Matt Hodgson. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian.

Western Force is selling naming rights for individual player jumpers for $50,000 after being unable to find a sponsor to replace major supporter Emirates.

Emirates' decision last year to junk its front-of-jumper sponsorship after a string of unsuccessful seasons left a $1 million-a-year black hole in the Force's books.

Club chief executive Mark Sinderberry told _WestBusiness _he had to think outside the box because single sponsors were hard to come by.

"We faced an economy which was tightening and there was a lot more uncertainty over the last six months," he said.

"On top of that, and it was a lesser issue, the Perth Arena was effectively a new product in the market for sporting and entertainment. It made it difficult to find the right partner.

"They are offering a year-round product, with a range of sports and entertainment. What we're offering is a product which is an involvement with a rugby team which plays in an international competition for the first five months of the year."

In 2014, sponsors will be able to have their logo on the front of an individual jumper for the entire season for $50,000.

The eight reserves are also up for sale at $25,000 each.

Eight of the starting 15 jumpers have been sold but Mr Sinderberry said the club was not ready to unveil the complete list of which companies had sponsored which positions.

It is likely that the jumpers usually worn by Wallaby winger Nick Cummins and captain Matt Hodgson were hotly contested. But because players sometimes change position, and therefore number, there is no guarantee that a sponsor will be associated with a particular person.

"We have been very conscious to reaffirm ourselves as a proud West Australian club including our recruitment strategy of contracting more outstanding local talent than ever before," Mr Sinderberry said.

"This initiative gives us the opportunity to promote many WA businesses to a national and international audience.

"We have recently started a new and exciting chapter and the financial support of the local community is critical to the club realising the success that we have set about to achieve."

The idea for individual sponsorships came after a move last season by Bankwest, which sponsors the back of the jumper, to give its sponsorship space to key bank clients. A similar sponsorship system operates in New Zealand rugby tournaments.

The Force will evaluate the new system over the next year and is still open to naming rights for the team in the future.

Perth-based employment group WorkFocus pounced on the opportunity to secure the high-profile half-back jumper.

WorkFocus chief executive Robert Gordon, a keen rugby fan, said he felt the sponsorship was good value for money given it gave national exposure to his company.

WorkFocus specialises in finding employment for people who are injured, disabled or disadvantaged. The company has 22 offices in WA, NSW, the ACT, Victoria and Queensland.

"We went for number nine because it gives the most exposure, in my view," Mr Gordon said.

"The half-back is always in the frame driving traffic and really setting the scene for what is going to happen in the game."

Brent Stewart, who is on both the WorkFocus and Western Force boards, floated the idea and Mr Gordon did not hesitate to sign up once he knew he could get either of the jumpers worn by the half-back or hooker.