UnderCurrent is very pleased for Harvey Norman and LG Electronics – both are receiving excellent exposure through the 2013-14 A-League season – comfortably the best edition in the league’s 8-year history.

Under the radar, however, has been Westinghouse Solar. While you couldn’t miss Harvey Norman and LG’s branding across every game on both Fox Sports and SBS, it wasn’t until UnderCurrent watched the Central Coast Mariners up close and personal that it noticed Westinghouse’s involvement.

“We see football as a growing force in Australian sport,” said Westinghouse Solar executive chairman and managing director Gerry McGowan said. “The passion of the fans and the growing popularity of the sport at the grassroots level lets Westinghouse Solar engage with our primary target market.”

“The best team in solar has just joined the best team in the Hyundai A-League.”

What’s does this have to do with Harvey Norman? Readers with good memories will recall that 18 months ago, Harvey Norman placed an enormous order for Westinghouse Solar products; so large that it had to notify the Australian Securities Exchange. The order was so big it eclipsed Westinghouse Solar’s previous 12 months of Australian trading.

Completely unrelated to this – and Proper Journalist would like to stress that – is a story UnderCurrent heard a while back about solar companies sponsoring sports teams.

The story was told by the managing director of a well-known subsidiary that was sponsoring a football team in one of the major competitions. A solar company had tried to muscle in on this sponsorship, offering the club in question more money for the front of the jersey.

This company and the club had a long term deal so there was no budging, meaning the solar company had to settle for sleeves and shorts. After one year, the solar company wanted out of the deal. Everyone was flabbergasted: 12 months ago they were prepared to pay over the odds to be involved, now they wanted none of it.

As it turns out, all the solar company wanted was the membership list for this team. Having secured the list, the solar company was hammering the supporters with direct mail, emails, door knocks – every trick under the, erm, sun.

UnderCurrent doesn’t think there’s too much wrong with this – just that it is an amusing story – though it does wonder if these practices, which do tend to irritate the general public, is part of the reason the ACCC takes such an active interest in the retail solar industry.