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Volume 6 No. 214

Marketing and Sponsorship

One Ryder Cup battle is "shaping up to be more acrimonious than any golf match," according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. That's because two Switzerland watch companies are feuding. Last year, the PGA of America abruptly ended its 17-year sponsorship with Rolex and signed a five-year deal with Omega, "its fierce rival." It was "a major coup" for Omega. Rolex had "practically owned the golf market until this deal came along," and the tension between the two companies escalated to the point this summer that Greg Norman was banned from a Ryder Cup press conference and kept from playing the Senior British Open pro-am. Omega's deal with the PGA of America, which goes through '16, "gives the company marketing rights at the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup." However, it gets only the Ryder Cup in America, and "that's where it gets messy." The European Tour, which has joint ownership of the Ryder Cup and negotiates its own marketing deals, "has a longtime relationship with Rolex." The PGA of America runs the Ryder Cup this year, meaning Rolex is "not allowed any presence at Medinah Country Club" in the Chicago suburbs. The watch wars are "a delicate subject at Rolex headquarters in Geneva," and the company was not willing to comment beyond an email from spokesperson Virginie Chevailler that "we can only regret the current nonuniform approach of the communications surrounding the tournament." Omega since has signed up U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III as an ambassador, and it presented all the American players at the Ryder Cup with "a specially designed watch with a sapphire crystal case and the Ryder Cup emblem in the dial." Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have deals with Rolex. Meanwhile, Rolex "traditionally presents the European team" with watches. Sergio Garcia has a contract with Omega (AP, 9/26).

The Spanish Basketball League (ACB) and automaker Kia have agreed to extend their partnership for another three years. With the new agreement, Kia will be the official sponsor of all ACB competitions until '15. The deal also makes Kia the official car of all ACB competitions. The partnership between the two organizations began with the '10-11 season. ACB Dir General Albert Agusti said, "Today, if a competition wants to be important, it needs to associate itself with equally relevant brands, and at the ACB we consider our association with Kia to be strategic" (ACB).

Singapore Airlines has been named the official airline of the Singapore Indoor Stadium in a deal brokered by World Sport Group. The sponsorship includes the airline's signage throughout the SIS and branding opportunities on the stadium's website. The airline also has the right to feature the SIS event calendar on its website (World Sport Group). ... South Korean credit card company KB Kookmin Card signed as the title sponsor for the Korean Basketball League "for the second straight season." KB Kookmin Card will have advertising rights at arenas for all 10 KBL teams and can print its logo on publications of individual teams or the league (YONHAP, 9/27). ... Second Basketball Bundesliga Pro-A club ETB Wohnbau Baskets Essen "extended its premium sponsorship deal" with private brewery Stauder for another year. Stauder "will receive the exclusive beer distribution rights at home games at the Ballsporthalle Am Hallo." In addition, the company's logo will be featured on the club's jerseys (DER WESTEN, 9/26). ... Swiss watchmaker Tissot has been named the official timekeeper of the 17th Asian Games, to be held in '14 in Incheon, South Korea. The Asian Games will feature 13,000 athletes from 45 countries and territories competing in 36 disciplines (Tissot). ... Team GB Olympic rowing Silver Medalist brothers Richard and Peter Chambers have teamed up with the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland. The milk ambassador has taken up a new challenge aiming to encourage a 10% increase in kids drinking milk by World Schools Milk Day 2013 (BELFAST TELEGRAPH, 9/27).

DOWN UNDER: The Int'l Sports Promotion Society will become the title sponsor of the first Perth Int'l golf tournament in Australia. The partnership will see the event rebranded as the ISPS HANDA Perth Int'l. The event will be played at Lake Karrinyup Country Club Oct. 18-21. It is the richest tournament in Australia and the only event in the country to be co-sanctioned between the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour (European Tour). ... National Rugby League team Pirtek Parramatta Eels teamed up with acute and chronic pain specialists Scenar Health for the '13 season. With the deal, Scenar Health secures the naming rights for the weekly injury report of (Parramatta Eels). ... A-League football club Perth Glory has agreed to a three-year sponsorship extension with QBE insurance. The deal also includes the Perth Glory Youth team (Perth Glory).