SBJ/20100308/This Week's News

Solar company picks SportsMark for Cup activation

Yingli Solar, the newest tier-one sponsor of the 2010 World Cup, hired the Omnicom agency SportsMark to manage its sponsorship, hospitality and activation in South Africa this summer.

SportsMark will work on a short five-month time frame to help the solar energy company develop plans to activate its first global sports sponsorship. The agency will not only develop hospitality and ticketing programs for Yingli guests and business partners but also advise the company on its in-venue signs and commercial displays.

Yingli hired SportsMark because it liked the agency’s proposal and felt it had the requisite sports hospitality experience to help the company navigate and effectively activate its first global sports sponsorship, said Judy Tzeng Lee, Yingli’s director of corporate development.

Jason Liu, vice president of marketing, added: “We look forward to leveraging SportsMark’s knowledge and expertise in the development of our ticketing and hospitality programs.”

Yingli signed its World Cup sponsorship because it believed soccer’s popularity would help the company raise brand awareness in key markets such as Germany, Italy and Spain, and potential markets such as Brazil and Africa. It’s a big gamble that the company hopes to make work by emphasizing business-to-business hospitality programs.

Tier-one FIFA sponsors typically pay $100 million.

The company hasn’t determined how many guests it will host in South Africa, but SportsMark already has begun to develop three hospitality programs targeting clients from Europe, China and the Americas.

“It will be a sprint,” said SportsMark President Keith Bruce. “We have 100 days to put the programs together.”

SportsMark is the exclusive sales agent in the United States for FIFA’s official hospitality programs. In addition to Yingli, it is managing hospitality programs for Visa, Sony, Univision and Soccer United Marketing.

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