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Volume 10 No. 22

Marketing and Sponsorship

Italian media company RCS has signed an eight-year agreement with IMG to try to "boost broadcast revenues for its cycling events, capitalizing on growing int'l interest in the sport," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. The sports event arm of RCS, which publishes Italian newspapers Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere della Sera, is "seeking a bigger worldwide audience for races it organizes," such as the three-week Giro d'Italia. RCS Sport runs 32 days of int'l cycling each year, including the Milan-San Remo one-day classic. RCS Sport CEO Giacomo Catano said that he did not believe that the Giro, held in May, was "condemned to live forever in the shadow of the Tour de France," which begins this weekend. The Giro currently broadcasts to 165 countries, compared with 190 for the French race. RCS Sport Managing Dir Michele Acquarone said that the deal with IMG "would build on efforts to bring more int'l riders to the Giro in recent years and experiment with starting the race in other European nations" (REUTERS, 6/28).

Arsenal FC and African mobile network operator Airtel have signed a three-year partnership where Airtel will be able to use the club’s merchandising, hospitality and content rights in five markets: Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda. Airtel will also be designated as the official mobile operator of the '12 Arsenal Tour to Nigeria. Arsenal will also support the Airtel Rising Stars football program, an annual, multi-country grassroots soccer initiative (Arsenal).

Unsatisfied by "certain elements of the team" during Euro 2012, sponsors for France's national team have already decided they will not pay the entire sum they were suppose to owe the federation following the tournament, according to Following the "disaster in Knysna" during the 2010 World Cup, the sponsors had renegotiated their deal with the French Football Federation so that half of the money they give each year can be cut by up to 20% depending on "Les Bleus'" public image. This year, the FFF is suppose to receive €18M ($22M) from sponsors.  However, €750,000 ($932,000) will not be coming their way due to the events at Euro 2012. Players Nasri, M'Vila, Ben Arfa and Menez could "face sanctions" for their behavior. France team sponsor PMU Communication Dir Benoit Cornu was disappointed. Cornu: "The team was not open and did not respect its supporters" (, 6/26).

The German national team's trip to the semifinals of Euro 2012 "hugely increases its ad value," according to WERBEN & VERKAUFEN. The tournament in Poland and the Ukraine increases not only the ad value of the whole team, but often helps players "to receive millions in new sponsorship deals." Cologne sports-marketing company Sport+Markt estimated that German national player Mesut Özil earns "up to €4M ($5M) annually through sponsorship deals." German striker Thomas Müller is a great example of how important "a good performance during a big tournament" is. The "shooting star of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa" used to earn a maximum of €100,000 ($124,000) through sponsorship deals. Now through deals with supermarket chain Rewe, snack manufacturer Bifi (Unilever), dairy factory Alois Müller and adidas, the 22-year-old has increased this number to €2.5M ($3.1M) (WERBEN & VERKAUFEN, 6/28).

Hong Kong racing's "turf world championships" will see an increase in stake money with the transition to its new sponsor Swiss watchmaker Longines, according to Alan Aitken of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. Longines takes over from previous eight-year sponsor Cathay Pacific. The 2012 Hong Kong Int'l Races will carry an additional HK$4M ($515,600) in prize money across the four Group One events. In addition, the Longines name will be "appended to the traditional int'l lead-up event," the Group Two Jockey Club Cup, for which the prize money remains at HK$3M ($386,700). The biggest increase from the sponsorship deal, in percentage terms, will be for the Int'l Jockeys' Championship, which is now worth HK$800,000 ($103,120) in total prizes shared across the jockeys finishing first (SCMP, 6/28).

Concern over the "dwindling number of entries" in the Volvo Ocean Race has pushed organisers to introduce a new fleet of "high performance racing yachts" that can be purchased off the shelf, according to Kate Laven of the London TELEGRAPH. In what is seen as a "radical departure from the race tradition, which has underpinned most of the major developments in yacht racing design and technology over the past 39 years," organisers unveiled plans to introduce a new fleet. The fleet will consist of 65 foot monohulls that are designed to be "equal in performance and reliability." British boat builder Green Marine will be in charge of building the boats which will be priced at €4.5M ($5.6M), "around €1M ($1.2M) less than the current Volvo 70's." Those are designed to a box rule "giving scope to push boundaries with rigging and other speed enhancing innovations." Race CEO Knut Frostad said, "Our clear goal throughout the planning process for the next race has been to make it easier and less costly to mount a campaign in the next race." Existing sponsors who have "ploughed around €30M ($37.3M) into their '11-12 campaigns" have been told of the new boat proposals. Frostad estimates that a future campaign for potential sponsors "should not cost more than €15M ($18.6M)" (TELEGRAPH, 6/28).

The Royal Bank of Scotland's decision to cancel its corporate hospitality at Wimbledon means that "the taxpayer is paying" £260,000 ($403,000) to rent an empty room, according to Jack Malvern of the LONDON TIMES. The cost "will be borne by taxpayers as the government owns a majority stake" in the company after its £20B ($31B) bailout in '08 (LONDON TIMES, 6/27).