The English Football League is facing "considerable commercial problems," as energy company npower is "due to pull the plug" on its title sponsorship when its three-year deal expires at the end of the season, according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. The exclusive renewal negotiating period ended this week for npower, which paid "a premium" £21M for the rights. However, the Football League "will have difficulty attracting another backer at a similar rate," especially with BBC no longer covering Championship matches live. In addition, the Football League’s online betting partner negotiations with BetButler "have been complicated by the funding problems of software providers Worldlink Sports." They have yet to pay money owed for similar deals struck with Newcastle, Sunderland and Fulham. In fact, npower has been "surprisingly lacklustre" in making the most of its Football League property ever since the driving power behind its sponsorship, Marketing Dir Kevin Peake, "was made redundant in a cost-cutting company restructuring last year. Peake, who now runs Aviva’s sports marketing operation, "set up a number of Football League promotional initiatives that an increasingly uninterested npower did not develop" (DAILY MAIL, 10/2).
Marketing and Sponsorship
EPL champions Manchester City "agreed a new partnership" with fashion house Hugo Boss to supply its suits for official club engagements and cup finals, according to Adam Shergold of the London DAILY MAIL. Citizens Manager Roberto Mancini "is a huge fan of the brand and is often seen browsing the latest fashions in the Hugo Boss store" in Manchester's city centre (DAILY MAIL, 10/2). Manchester City Chief Commercial and Operations Officer Tom Glick said, "The opportunity to collaborate on a range of activities beyond simply the design of the player’s suits makes this a particularly compelling partnership" (THEBUSINESSDESK.com, 10/3). GQ's Andy Morries wrote that Manchester City's new uniform is a "classic charcoal single-breasted suit in virgin wool with (unsurprisingly) a sky blue shirt and tie." Boss -- who has formerly sponsored Chelsea and Bayern Munich -- "clearly relished the challenge to try and make a team that includes the likes of purple pants advocate Mario Balotelli look presentable" (GQ, 10/3).
Real Madrid defender Pepe has agreed to a sponsorship deal with Nike, according to Hugo Cerezo of MARCA. The U.S. company has signed the Portuguese player for the coming years in a deal that will see the defender "become one of its key faces, particularly in Portugal, where the negotiations were carried out." Pepe is the seventh Real Madrid player to be sponsored by Nike. The others are: Ronaldo, Khedira, Modric, Higuain, Varane and Ramos. Rival adidas has contracts with 14 Real Madrid players (MARCA, 10/3).
Scotland's rugby team has "unveiled the change kit" that the team will wear to take on New Zealand next month at Murrayfield. Predominantly light blue, the shirt "features a white chest panel, with a saltire on the lower half, and saltire detailing on the sleeves." The main sponsor is still the Royal Bank of Scotland, "whilst Canterbury remains the kit sponsor" (SCOTSMAN, 10/3). ... Puma has "signed a partnership agreement" with French int'l and Man City fullback Gael Clichy. The player previously wore Umbro boots. In Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund, Clichy wore the Puma evoSPEED 1FG boot (SOCCERLENS.com, 10/3). ... The players of Basketball Bundesliga club Alba Berlin picked up their vehicles from club sponsor Volkswagen Automobile Berlin. Volkswagen, which has been a partner of the club for 13 years, provided the club with 14 Tiguan Sport & Style 2,0 TDI (Alba Berlin). ... German Hockey League (DEL) club ERC Ingolstadt agreed to a partnership with design agency Junges Blut. The agency will be in charge of the club's ad campaigns (ERC Ingolstadt). ... Sri Lanka's national carrier, SriLankan Airlines will continue its major sponsorship of cricket in Japan through a new major deal with the Japan Cricket Association. SriLankan Airlines has been the naming-rights sponsor of the Japan Cricket Association major competition, the National Championship for the last two years and has extended its relationship for another year (JCA). ... Manulife Japan has renewed its major sponsorship of the 2012 Pacific Baseball League and will continue as the title sponsor of the 2012 PBL Climax Series. The company said by a statement that it supports the six teams involved in the PBL in their activities, which strengthen local communities, and supports the series promoter, Pacific League Marketing, in implementing a new business style to promote the popularity of baseball (Manulife Japan). ... The Qatar Stars League "signed on Qatar Charity as its business partner to promote social solidarity by helping communities through football and other related activities." As part of the agreement, food prepared by families "will be sold at QSL matches and money from ticket sales will be donated to Qatar Charity" (GULF TIMES, 10/3).