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Row erupts after Sydney Opera House tries to charge basketball team $50,000 for using its logo

The Sydney Opera House Trust has backed down after being blasted for trying to charge sports teams $50,000 for using its logo. 

A row erupted earlier this week after NBL’s Sydney Kings learned that the annual licensing fee would be about 50 times the normal price this year. 

The team’s logo has featured an orange squiggly line resembling the Opera House’s iconic sails since they formed in 1988. 

But the basketball team, which was previously paying about $1000 a season, have now decided they will not be renewing as the new cost is ‘unviable’.  

When confronted about the rise by 2GB’s Ben Fordham on Tuesday, the trust rowed back and announced it had reduced the fee.

‘Well, I can tell you the Sydney Kings aren’t going to pay it- they can’t afford it!’ Mr Fordham told listeners following his discussion with the trust.

‘And can I say to the Opera House, it’s not your house! The people built it.’

‘They have to back down completely, not just a little bit.’

The Sydney Opera House Trust was reportedly forced to increase the fee after the NBL broke away from Basketball Australia in 2013, shifting to a private model.

In a statement, the trust said it entered into a ten-year trade mark licence agreement with City of Sydney Basketball Association in March 2010.

It said Basketball Australia subsequently took over rights in the agreement, which expired in March this year.  

‘Since mid-2019, we have undertaken negotiations regarding a new trade mark licence agreement with the NBL,’ the statement read.

‘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 trust said a reduced offer has since been made to the NBL, and emphasised that it is a non-for-profit organisation that needs to ‘balance our support for other cultural entities with safeguarding one of our most valuable assets’.

The Kings have instead chosen to rebrand with a new design scheduled to be showcased later this year. 

The hefty tariff could also impact several other sports teams currently using the Australian landmark in their logo, including the AFL’s Sydney Swans and NRL’s Sydney Roosters, whose trademarks will be up for renewal in 2026. 

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