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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

New York Knicks G Jeremy Lin's new marketing agent, Jim Tanner, said his first order of business is to begin sorting through potential opportunities from corporations interested in endorsement deals with Lin, including companies based in Asia. "Our main charge at this point is to get our arms around the many opportunities available to Jeremy," said Tanner, an NBA player agent and partner at Washington, DC law firm Williams & Connolly, which announced today that it was hired to represent Lin in off-the-court endeavors. "He has an extreme amount of interest from any number of companies, including companies in Asia." Tanner would not name any of the companies interested in Lin, the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA. Lin currently has existing deals with Nike, which signed him after he was undrafted, and Volvo who signed him earlier this year. Tanner will work collaboratively with Lin's existing agent, Roger Montgomery, on his NBA affairs, including his free agency. Montgomery did not return a phone call or a text.  Tanner recruited Lin when he was at Harvard, but lost out to Montgomery. Tanner: "We had met with Jeremy and his family when he was coming out of Harvard. We had a conversation with them recently, and they expressed an interest in working with us."

Adidas has raised its football sales forecast to €1.6B ($2B) as fans "rushed to snap up jerseys from Germany, hotly-tipped in the Euro 2012 tournament, and replica match balls," according to Victoria Bryan of REUTERS. Adidas had previously forecast sales in the €1.5B range it achieved in '10 during the World Cup. Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer said, "Adidas can already be sure of defending its title as the most successful football brand in Europe and the world." Adidas has already sold more than 1 million Germany replica shirts, making it "the most popular Euro Cup shirt adidas has ever sold" (REUTERS, 6/21). Bryan also reported that adidas is "not interested" in buying soccer brand Umbro from owner Nike. Hainer said, "We are already the market leader in football, we do not need another brand" (REUTERS, 6/21).

Despite not being a FIFA sponsor, Nike is the brand "most associated" with the 2014 World Cup among the Brazilian public, according to Fernando Murad of MEIO & MENSAGEM. A study by F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi and the Instituto Datafolha found that 28% of Brazilians associate Nike with the 2014 World Cup. Meanwhile, adidas and Coca-Cola which are both official partners of FIFA, had respective scores of 19% and 16%. Another 21% said that they "didn't know," and 11% do not associate any brand with the event. The personality most associated with the event amongst the Brazilian public is 20-year-old Santos and Brazil national team striker Neymar. The young star, who is highly coveted by many of Europe's top clubs including Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid, was associated to the 2014 World Cup by 39% of the people. Other interesting tidbits from the study include: 62% of the people interviewed believe the World Cup will improve the country's infrastructure; "58% think the event will increase corruption in Brazil"; and 57% think Brazil will win the tournament. The study interviewed 2,428 individuals over the age of 12 (MEIO & MENSAGEM, 6/21).

Budweiser has "risked a potential PR own goal by signing a string of former internationals to play for Wembley FC," the non-league side it backs, in next season's FA Cup, which it also sponsors, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The Football Association, which receives an estimated £24M ($37.4M) from Budweiser over three years to sponsor the world's oldest knockout competition, said that the U.S. company had not broken any rules but "stressed the Wembley FC stunt did not have anything to do with its own arrangement with the brand." After signing Terry Venables earlier this season as a technical adviser for the club, which plays in the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties Football League, "it has now unveiled six former internationals who have promised to come out of retirement to play in the FA Cup." The former England players Ray Parlour, Martin Keown and Graeme Le Saux, the Argentinian Claudio Caniggia and the American striker Brian McBride have all signed. The former Arsenal and England No. 1 David Seaman has also come on board as the new goalkeeping coach. The "PR stunt has already drawn criticism from fans of other non-league clubs, who perceive it as unfair." Budweiser has a track record of using "a similar strategy in other sports that it sponsors in the U.S. and elsewhere"  (GUARDIAN 6/21).

NBA Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant has the most popular NBA jersey internationally, including in individual regions of China, Europe and Latin America. The rankings were based on sales at adidas locations outside of the U.S. during the '11-12 NBA season. Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose, Miami Heat LeBron James, Boston Celtics Kevin Garnett and Orlando Magic Dwight Howard round out the top five internationally (NBA).

11-12 Top Selling Jerseys Internationally   11-12 Top Selling Jerseys in China
1.  Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers 1.  Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2.  Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls 2.  Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
3.  LeBron James, Miami Heat 3.  LeBron James, Miami Heat
4.  Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics 4.  Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
5.  Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic 5.  Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
6.  Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat 11-12 Top Selling Jerseys in Europe
7.  Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics 1.  Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
8.  Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks 2.  Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
9.  Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers 3.  LeBron James, Miami Heat
10.  Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder 4.  Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
11.  Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers 5.  Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
12.  Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks 11-12 Top Selling Jerseys in Latin America
13.  Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks 1.  Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
14.  Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs 2.  LeBron James, Miami Heat
15.  Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves 3.  Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
4.  Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
5.  Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Surfwear group Billabong will raise $225M in a "last-ditch attempt to stabilise the business and restore growth," after announcing Thursday another profit downgrade and the departure of Chair Ted Kunkel before next February, according to Richard Gluyas of THE AUSTRALIAN. New CEO Launa Inman revealed the "deeply discounted, six-for-seven, non-renounceable rights issue" at $1.02 a share. Company founder and 15% shareholder Gordon Merchant will chip in $30M, but take up only 85% of his entitlement. Inman said that a "transformation strategy" would be released on Aug. 24, but the retail side of the business would continue to be rolled back with the closure of 140 stores by the end of the '13 financial year. In the analyst call, Credit Suisse analyst Grant Saligari held Billabong accountable for "asking shareholders for $250M with no clear strategy." Evans & Partners analyst Tony Wilson said it was a "massive" job to turn the company around, and it might not be achievable because the Billabong brand was "old and tired" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/22). The AAP cited City Index analyst Peter Esho saying that the capital rising was a "huge slap in the face to shareholders, particularly after Billabong rejected a generous offer" from private equity firm TPG Capital four months ago. Esho: "Knocking back private equity’s $3.30-a-share takeover offer and then raising equity at $1.02 will no doubt see a lot of criticism from shareholders and rightly so." JP Morgan analyst Shaun Cousins said that Inman was asking investors "to take a leap of faith" (AAP, 6/21). In Melbourne, Gavin Lower noted board member Allan McDonald "planned to retire in October" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/20).

SHOW WILL GO ON: In Sydney, Fred Pawle cited a Billabong spokesperson who said that the company's "financial difficulties will not affect the company's ability" to put on the next event on the surfing World Tour. The Billabong Pro Tahiti is scheduled to begin Aug. 16 and boasts the "famously dangerous wave of Teahupoo, in a remote part of Tahiti." The event is one of the "more expensive events on the World Tour," where licensees often cite costs of $3M to stage an event. Billabong spokesperson John Mossop said, "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't go ahead. It's business as usual" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/21).

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal has partnered with the website PokerStars. Nadal will represent PokerStars in online tournaments, advertising campaigns, and charitable events. Twitter followers will be able to talk about Nadal's poker game using the hashtag #nadalpoker. PokerStars Chair of the Board Mark Scheinberg said, "Rafa Nadal represents all that is great about competition: the mix of talent, intellect, dedication and mental strength that you find in champions in every sport. We are proud to have Rafa as an ambassador for the brand and excited at the opportunity to help him enjoy and improve his game" (PokerStars).

MoGo Sport, manufacturer of flavored mouthguards, has expanded to multiple int'l markets including France, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the U.K. through new distributor deals. MoGo has signed a deal with Sport Access in France that exclusively represents adidas and Malik field hockey products in that market. Mogo has also reached an agreement with Jucola to represent MoGo mouthguard products in Japan. Jucola develops and sells high performance sport supplements in that market. MoGo mouthguards will also be distributed in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific by Australian teamwear manufacturer Beyond Sports. MoGo has also reached an agreement with Flamingo Sales to distribute their products in Sub Saharan Africa, including South Africa. In the U.K., Warlenz Limited signed a deal to distribute MoGo (MoGo).

Casio Singapore Pte Ltd has been named the main sponsor of Japanese drifting competitor Ken Gushi, "and his team, the G-Shock -- Kumho Tires Drift team," in the 2012 Formula Drift Asia race. The leg of the race in Singapore will begin on June 20 at Changi Exhibition Center (, 6/18).

: The Int'l Motorcycling Federation has appointed World Sport Group as its exclusive agent to sell TV and media rights and marketing and licensing rights to the events managed and promoted by the FIM throughout the territories of Asia, Oceania and the Middle East. The Singapore-based sports marketing, media and event management company has signed a four-year deal with the FIM, which will also see WSG provide management and coordination services for select events in Asia (excluding Japan) and Oceania (World Sport Group).

NEW LEVEL SPONSOR: Swiss watch brand Longines was unveiled as the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games official partner for timing, scoring and results. Longines marks the tier-one sponsor of the Games, upgrading from being a long-standing partner. The watch brand joins the Glasgow 2014 sponsor family with an official partner status -- the highest rank within the organizing committee's commercial program (Glasgow 2014).

PARTY PARTNERSHIP: The Women's Tennis Association announced Dubai Duty Free as the presenting sponsor of its ninth annual Pre-Wimbledon party. The tennis party, which began Thursday, brings together people from entertainment, fashion and sport, and are again being held at The Roof Gardens in London on Thursday (WTA).