SBJ/June 18 - 24, 2001/International

Coca-Cola gets its Premier piece with record deal for ITV highlights

Coca-Cola has amply made up for not bidding for the title sponsorship of the English Premier League by signing the biggest sports broadcasting sponsorship deal ever for the league on ITV. Coke will sponsor the network's highlights (it does not have live rights) and other programming over the next three years to the tune of an anticipated total of $70 million, including spot advertising. The Premier League's new title sponsor is Barclaycard under a three-year deal that totals $67 million. The credit card company had first option on the sponsorship of ITV's broadcasts but decided to pass.

 CANADA IN THE RUNNING: Canada plans a bid to host the next soccer World Cup available to the Western Hemisphere, which would be 2010 for men or 2011 for women. A Canadian cup could make an operating profit of $15 million, based on $366 million net revenue and $351 million operating costs, according to a Deloitte & Touche report commissioned by the Canadian Soccer Association and the Canadian government. These projections do not include the hosting grant from FIFA.

  ANOTHER CUP SPONSOR: FIFA Marketing AG, the company set up to sell the marketing rights to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups after the collapse of marketing partner ISMM/ISL, signed Toshiba as a technology sponsor for the two tournaments. Toshiba will provide computer hardware for the tournaments. The deal followed one making Avaya the "official convergence communications partner" of the World Cup.

  FIFA OOPS: While new sponsorships have no doubt helped FIFA's credibility in the wake of marketer ISL's problems, one announcement also caused new embarrassment. FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced June 7 that Japan's NTT Telecommunications was signed up for 2002. The next day, NTT denied that a final decision had been made to sponsor the event. FIFA has acknowledged there was a misunderstanding that it was trying to clarify. If it does come aboard, NTT Telecommunications will provide its services in Japan for the 2002 World Cup, in the same way that Korea Telecom is providing its services in South Korea.

NOT-SO-SPARKLING WINES: A panel of London Evening Standard wine experts had a sour aftertaste after reviewing the wares of city soccer clubs that, like many English clubs, sell their own wine under the club brand. Millwall's white wine was described as "No fruit, just that gentle hint of industrial chemicals." On Crystal Palace's white: "A professional buyer who bought this for a wine selection would be fired." Charlton Athletic's red wine (branded The Valley, the name of Charlton's stadium) was described as having "the horrific smell of decaying carpets" with an "aftertaste of floor cleaner."

— Jay Stuart

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