• Carlie Green-Medina

Santalab's Departure Bigger Than Cahill's Socceroos Retirement.

Updated: Dec 17, 2018


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Brendon Santalab is a household name for Australian football fans, having played for Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers and currently Perth Glory for the 18/19 A-League season. Well-known for his on-field passion, Santa has established himself as an A-League fan favourite. Brendon’s football ability isn’t the only reason he’s become a fan favourite and sought-after ambassador, over the last five years he has built a strong athlete brand. Which he has successfully used to create commercial opportunities, leverage his business and give back to his community and Clubs.


Throughout Brendon’s A-League career, his #11 jersey number has been consistent across all of his teams, providing Brendon with the opportunity to build a strong “Santa11” brand, that fans can follow and associate with him. Brendon considers it a strong part of his personal brand, “my nickname being Santa and #11 as my jersey number…created “Santa #11”. Christmas time is when all the jokes start!”


Brendon is an internationally experienced player, having played in Singapore, Europe, and China in addition to his three A-League Clubs. Although, most people will identify him with the red and black of the Western Sydney Wanderers, where he played for the past five years. Earlier this year, Brendon decided to make a move and reunite with mentor and coach, Tony Popovic on a one-year contract with Perth Glory. This move completely rocked Wanderers fans and caused an outcry across the Club community.


Brendon’s controversial move to play for Perth Glory was a massive shock to the Wanderers fans and resulted in one of the most substantial social media reactions seen by any footballer in Australia. The social media announcement of his departure resulted in thousands of likes and comments from Wanderers and Santalab fans voicing their displeasure. The significant engagement by fans on Instagram and Facebook following his departure from the Club demonstrates how much Brendon meant to the Club and the strength of his relationship was with the fans and community.


The farewell photo posted to the Wanderers Instagram account has over 3000 likes and nearly 400 comments! Making it the most engaging post in Wanderers social history. On top of that, their Facebook farewell video has 36,000 views, almost 1000 comments, and 210 shares! To put this into perspective, Tim Cahill’s Live Farewell video announcing his retirement from playing International Football that was posted on the Caltex Socceroos Facebook page, has 27,000 views, nearly 1000 comments, and only 143 shares. These figures clearly show how much Brendon as a brand meant to the Wanderers Club and how much of an impact his departure had on fans.



It’s no surprise that Perth Glory could see the positive brand appeal of a player with this much influence on a Club and it’s fans, “Brendon is a player that brings invaluable experience, a winning mentality and a hunger for success,” said football director, Jacob Burns. CEO of the Wanderers, John Tsatsimas also signifies this, "On and off the pitch Brendon has shown passion and pride in the club and been a fantastic ambassador with his roles in the community.”


Despite the outcry and attention Brendon’s farewell created, he only reflects on the positive outcomes of his time with the Club, “I leave the Wanderers with an Asian Champions League Winners Medal, Player of the Year (Wanderers Medal) award in 2016/17, two golden boot awards and currently hold the club’s all-time goalscorer title.”


Aside from his dedication to his Clubs, Brendon has a firm understanding of the bigger picture and role he plays off the field, “It’s important we fill our stadiums, respect and engage with fans as much as possible, and make sure people feel connected to the clubs and players,” further saying, “this definitely encourages fans to support a club and obviously their favourite players.”


Fans know that when they see Brendon walking down the street, they will meet the same passionate and dedicated player that they see on the field. Whether he is stopping for photos, signing autographs or running over to the cheering crowds during a game, Brendon respects the people who spend their hard-earned money to watch him play and support a team.


“I learnt early that some people spend their savings to watch their favourite team and players, which is why I respect and acknowledge the people who turn up on gamedays to support our game,” he said.

It’s no surprise that Brendon has become a sought-after commercial partner because of his established brand in the A-League and the potential reach related to him through his social channels, ambassador roles and personal website www.brendonsantalab.com.au. Aside from being a regular face for Club and league media and marketing campaigns, Brendon also works with brands and charities including, ANZ Stadium, Ronald McDonald Westmead and CDH Australia.


Brendon was also the only player in the A-League to have his Santa11 brand logo used for Club merchandise, with his polos selling out twice. Brendon knows what he can provide to brands and his Clubs and actively uses his channels to promote and engage with fans, brands and drive fan engagement for his Clubs.


Brendon and his ‘Santa11’ brand is an excellent example of how an athlete can use their brand. When people hear Brendon Santalab, they think of his strong relationship with fans and remember him as a dedicated ambassador, businessman and passionate player. Demonstrating that performance and athletic ability, an inspirational backstory or controversial reputation, are not the only ways an athlete can build a strong brand identity.

Keep up to date and follow Brendon on Instagram @santalab11.


For more information about Brendon, please visit https://www.agencyxtalent.com.au/brendon-santalab, alternatively to discuss opportunities to work with Brendon contact us at hello@agencyx.com.au or call 1300 521 605.


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