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The marketing of Inter Milan soccer star Ronaldo was examined by Paul Betts of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Inter Milan has sold more than 30,000 Ronaldo No. 10 T-shirts and the team now has a team catalogue of 50 branded items. The team's gift shop, which had been open on game days only, is now open all week and has sold 2,000 Ronaldo shirts in the "past 12 days." Betts wrote that the Brazilian star "has also been a phenomenal deal for Pirelli, the Italian tyre and cable company with a stake in Inter. Pirelli is investing heavily in Brazil, where it will soon have its biggest tyre manufacturing plant, even larger than its Italian facilities. What Pirelli is paying to have its name on Ronaldo's Inter shirt is peanuts, considering the exposure it gives the company in his home country." Betts added that Ronaldo is "about to launch a new collection of sportswear sponsored by Nike" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/31).
U.S. Speedskating "finally has found a heavyweight, cash-paying sponsor," after agreeing to a five-year, $1.2M sponsorship deal with IL-based Ameritech, according to Charles Gardner of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Gardner reported that "it is the first major sponsorship landed" for the WI-based U.S. longtrack speedskating team. The deal is with Ameritech and Security Link, a division of Ameritech (Charles Gardner, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 1/30).
Visa has signed a sponsorship agreement with the U.S. Cycling team "that gets its brand on the team's jerseys and, more importantly, gets it the rights to do more promotions with the team's other corporate supporters," according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. The "biggest lure: the 33,000 locations of the U.S. Postal Service, Visa's largest merchant client," which is also the team's title sponsor. Sources described the one-year deal, with a renewal option, as "in the low to mid-six figures." Lefton adds that Visa will also receive signage at races, official card status, tickets and hospitality, rights to athlete appearances and the ability to develop promos with Trek and the other team sponsors as well as the USPS (BRANDWEEK, 2/2 issue).