By Scott BrownblattThe sports ad industry in Australia is booming.
The Australian Sports Commission has estimated the industry generates $2.8 billion in annual revenue, with advertising companies earning $1.4 billion annually.
But for those who aren’t quite ready to throw their hands up and go home, the industry is still a bit of a wildcard.
There are no laws specifically regulating the industry, so you have to be licensed and pay an annual fee to get your own ad on billboards.
But the industry also has its own laws that are often a little more restrictive.
For example, the Federal Government doesn’t have an official ban on adverts that run on television, but it has made it illegal to “adopt, use, display, advertise or otherwise associate” any commercial on a public highway without first seeking approval from the Australian High Commission.
The advertising industry has also been hit by a slew of legal actions.
In the past year alone, it’s seen an onslaught of lawsuits and investigations, with one advertising giant alone filing more than $2 billion in claims.
The problem for the advertising industry is that the courts are also not exactly a friend of the advertising world.
In April 2017, the High Court of Australia dismissed a number of the ad industry’s claims, ruling that the laws around the ad space were too vague.
“It is a very hard case to make, and it’s not that we can’t prove the case, it is that we have to prove the allegations to be proven at all,” Associate Justice Geoffrey Hinch told the court.
“There’s nothing in the law that prevents a company from using a billboard to advertise a product or service.”
In the past decade, the Advertising Standards Authority of Australia has come under fire for having been too soft on the advertising market.
In 2013, it issued a statement that argued that adverts should not be required to be clear and unambiguous about their intent, saying that “advertisements must not imply a desire to deceive or an intention to mislead”.
The ASA also found that the law was “not overly restrictive”, but warned that it “must be applied with caution” in light of the current climate.
It’s unclear how many of those legal challenges will be successful.
The advertising industry’s current position on the law is unclear, but there’s a lot of debate about the current situation in Australia.
Will the advertising landscape change as we approach the 2020 Olympics?
The 2020 Olympic Games will be Australia’s first to be held in an Australian city.
It will also mark the first time a large-scale sporting event has been held outside of the country.
The ABC’s Andrew Rawnsley reports from Perth.