Australian Sporting Code Punts For Own TLD

The uniquely Australian sporting code, the Australian Football League, has become the first Australian brand and about ten others globally to announce it will be applying for a top level domain by applying for the .AFL TLD.The AFL joins brands such as Unicef, Canon and Hitachi to have publicly stated they will be applying prior to the close of the application period that ICANN has announced will close on 12 April.The aim of the TLD is to provide the sport, the most popular football code in Australia, with its own branded domain name platform to deliver its broad range of online content to relevant audiences in an intuitive and authoritative manner.But the AFL is also being a bit defensive just in case someone else wants to register the TLD. AFL general manager of strategy and marketing Andrew Catterall was reported by AAP saying one reason was for the sport to protect its brand.Partnering the AFL is Melbourne IT who will assist the AFL develop its business case and application while ARI Registry Services will operate the technology that will support ‘dot AFL’ online.The stated goal of the TLD is to:

  • make it easier for fans to find relevant online content
  • improve the protection of AFL, club and player environments online
  • support the growth of club and AFL media channels
  • better support the promotion and education for grass roots and community football
  • simplify marketing call to actions
  • provide opportunities for sponsors to promote their association with the AFL and clubs.

“We are making major investments in the digital media and fan development space and the decision to apply for ‘dot AFL’ supports this initiative,” Catterall said.”We have selected Melbourne IT and ARI Registry Services for this project as we think ‘dot AFL’ could be a key asset to support our major strategies around national expansion, fan development, strengthening the AFL clubs, supporting community participation and growing our presence in digital media. Ultimately, ‘dot AFL’ will make it easier for our audience to access trusted online content that is endorsed by the AFL brand.”Theo Hnarakis, CEO & Managing Director of Melbourne IT – the company chosen by the AFL to provide domain strategy and application consulting services – said a ‘dot AFL’ would provide the AFL with greater online brand control and flexibility.”The AFL is one of Australia’s most recognised and respected brands, and a new ‘dot AFL’ top level domain name would provide the code with greater agility to take advantage of business opportunities online as well as delivering fans the best possible online experience,” Mr Hnarakis said.”When a brand leader like the AFL announces a strategic commercial initiative, the rest of corporate Australia tends to take note.”Adrian Kinderis, CEO of ARI Registry Services – the technology provider for ‘dot AFL’ – said the AFL will now have the opportunity to own an authoritative slice of the Internet forever.”The decision to apply for ‘dot AFL’ will create a branded corner of the Internet completely dedicated to the AFL, and with the help of ARI Registry Services, they will inherit a core piece of Internet infrastructure that is theirs to do as they choose,” Mr Kinderis said.”ICANN has understandably developed strict technology requirements for this process and ARI Registry Services has the experience and expertise to ensure the success of ‘dot AFL’ for both the brand and the greater football community. We look forward to supporting the AFL as we have many other household names in this Internet evolution.”

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