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SBD Global/October 18, 2012/Marketing and SponsorshipPrint All
German Football League (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert "wants to prevent excessive amounts of advertisement in the Bundesliga," according to BILD. Seifert said, "Fans go to the stadium to see a football game and not to see advertisements. Therefore, clubs and sponsors should not take it too far." Seifert does not believe that sponsors profit from "players running across the field looking like billboards." In addition, Seifert "refuses the idea of stopping a game for a commercial break." Seifert said, "What I completely rule out are commercial breaks during games such as during NFL games in the U.S." Seifert does not expect any "quantum leaps" when it comes to shirt sponsorship deal revenues. Almost 40 years after Eintracht Braunschweig acquired Jägermeister as the first shirt sponsor in the Bundesliga, the league's clubs have earned almost €120M ($157.5M) through shirt sponsorship deals this season (BILD, 10/15).
Anheuser-Busch InBev has joined Nike and RadioShack in dropping "their sponsorship deals with Lance Armstrong," according to Steel & Kassel of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The fallout from the doping scandal surrounding "the disgraced cyclist," once one of the world’s most-endorsed athletes, is escalating as AB InBev, which sponsors Armstrong under its Michelob Ultra beer brand, said it would not renew its relationship, which expires at the end of this year. Armstrong earned an estimated $15.3M from sponsors in '11, according to Burns Entertainment and Sports Marketing. His contract with Nike alone was worth between $8M-$12M annually. AB InBev said in a statement: "We will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation and its cycling and running events." Other sponsors include Trek bicycles, which could not be reached for comment, and Oakley sunglasses, which said it was reviewing its deal with Armstrong (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/17).
'INSURMOUNTABLE EVIDENCE': In a statement, Nike said it was terminating its relationship with Armstrong due to the “seemingly insurmountable evidence” that he participated in doping and, in the process, “misled” the company. Nike: “Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any matter.” The company will continue supporting Livestrong initiatives (Nike). Nike in a statement said that it will "change the name of the Lance Armstrong Fitness Center" at its HQs in Beaverton, Ore. The AP's Michelle Chapman noted Nike traditionally has "stuck by the athletes that it has endorsed in the past during tumultuous times in their lives," including Tiger Woods. The company "distanced itself" from Eagles QB Michael Vick "following a dog-fighting scandal, but by last year, it was backing Vick once again" (AP, 10/17). In Milwaukee, Don Walker noted Nike "has had a history of sticking with its stars," but the company "obviously felt it had to act" after USADA issued its report last week outlining the allegations against Armstrong (JSONLINE.com, 10/17). USA TODAY's Christine Brennan wrote if people still believe Armstrong "didn't cheat and didn't take drugs, you are now officially notified that he did" by Nike's move. Brennen: "Nike knows. Lance did it. Otherwise, it would still be standing by him. ... When Nike drops an athlete, you know he or she has done something terribly, irreparably wrong. That's because Nike has supported, defended and continued to pay all kinds of athletes in trouble," including Woods, NBA L.A. Lakers G Kobe Bryant, NFL Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and former NFL QB Brett Favre (USATODAY.com, 10/17).
RADIOSHACK ALSO CUTS TIES: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's O'Connell & Albergotti reported RadioShack announced it also has "ended its relationship" with Armstrong. A RadioShack spokesperson said, "I can say that RadioShack has no current obligations with Lance Armstrong." The company has been "closely aligned with Mr. Armstrong since it signed a sponsorship agreement with the cyclist" in July '09. RadioShack last week said that it was "monitoring the situation" after the release of USADA's report (WSJ.com, 10/17). AD AGE's Michael McCarthy noted A-B Monday “issued another public statement of support for Armstrong,” with whom it signed a deal in ’09. A-B VP/Marketing Paul Chibe said, "Our current relationship with Lance remains unchanged" (ADAGE.com, 10/16). But CNBC's Joe Kernen said, "I would bet my life that you do not see another Michelob Ultra commercial with Lance Armstrong” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 10/17). Trek Bicycle Corp., which "features Armstrong prominently" in its Wisconsin-based HQs, has declined to comment (JSONLINE.com, 10/17).
LEAVING LIVESTRONG POSITION: Armstrong said that he is "stepping down" as Livestrong chairman, so the group can "focus on its mission instead of its founder's problems." The AP's Jim Vertuno reported Armstrong's duties "leading the board will be turned over" to Vice Chair Jeff Garvey, the organization's founding chairman in '97. Armstrong will remain "on its 15-member board." Livestrong VP/Communications & External Affairs Katherine McLane said that the decision "turns over the foundation's big-picture strategic planning to Garvey." Garvey will assume "some of the public appearances and meetings that Armstrong used to handle," though Armstrong is "expected to speak at Friday night's 15th anniversary gala for Livestrong in Austin" (AP, 10/17).
TWITTER REAX: NBC News' Andrea Mitchell wrote on her Twitter feed, "Nike fires #Lance Armstrong they never fired Tiger and rehired Michael Vick. Takes a lot to loose the swoosh." The L.A. Times' Bill Plaschke wrote, "It took Nike 8 months to take Joe Paterno's name off their child development center..that they quit on Lance shows how far he's fallen." Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, a Nike endorser, wrote, "A lot of people were deceived. The Nike I know represents the spirit and ideals of true athletes and would never condone doping." ESPN.com's Bonnie Ford wrote, "Nike just did it."
P&G brand Gillette has reached a sponsorship agreement with the Chilean National Association of Professional Football (ANFP) to become the official sponsor of the Chilean national football team. ANFP President Sergio Jadue said, "Gillette is integrating itself in our new category of providers for the national team, and their support is essential for our project. Also, we hope this partnership will take us to the World Cup in Brazil" (ANFP). MAQUINADOESPORTE.com.br noted that Gillette already sponsors other national teams in South America including Argentina and Brazil. Furthermore, the company is "looking to take advantage" of the image of Chilean and FC Barcelona striker Alexis Sanchez, who is already part of the Gillette portfolio. Gillette Chile Marketing Dir Matias Brown said, "It is very important for us to partner with the national team because it allows us to get closer to the Chilean consumer, as football and the national team are extremely relevant in the country" (MAQUINADOESPORTE.com.br, 10/16).
ManU has signed a three-year deal with Japan-based soft drinks manufacturer Kagome. The partnership will last until the end of the ’15-16 season and will see the brand become the club’s official soft drink partner in Japan. Kagome produces a range of vegetable- and fruit-based soft drinks, including tomato juice; fruit and vegetable mixed juice; and vegetable-origin lactic acid bacteria-based drinks (ManU).
Bundesliga club Fortuna Dusseldorf agreed to a new sponsorship deal with fashion and lifestyle company Breuninger. The three-year deal includes ad space on boards in camera view, classifieds and commercials in the club's media and an extensive hospitality package. The deal was brokered by sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media (Fortuna Dusseldorf). ... German 3rd League football club SV Darmstadt 98 extended its title sponsorship with business process management company Software AG until the summer of '15 (SV Darmstadt 98). French handball league club Montpellier President Remy Levy revealed the club will "probably lose" major sponsor printing company Brother after five players were involved in a betting scandal. The company currently pays the club €300,000 ($394,000) to have its logo on the team's jersey (AFP, 10/17).