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Volume 6 No. 217

Marketing and Sponsorship

Ligue 1 club FC Toulouse "has to use its imagination" if it wants to bring in new financial partners, according to Gilles Souillés of LA DEPECHE DU MIDI. Although longtime partner Orange extended its deal with the club, the end to construction company Idec's sponsorship, which brought the club €800,000 ($1M) annually, "has forced President Olivier Sadran "to look elsewhere." His idea is "offering the stadium roof as a gigantic publicity sign... for a breathtaking view from the sky." Considering that 7 million passengers take off or land each year from the Toulouse-Blagnac airport "the idea is not as crazy as it seems." Sadran said, "The stadium is very visible from the sky because it is in the axis of airlines corridors. This visibility could interest a large manufacturer. We are working on it." Sadran has a preference for the aviation sector and "an emblematic" company in Toulouse: Airbus. The club has said discussions are ongoing (LA DEPECHE DU MIDI, 10/3).

Gillette "has partnered" with the Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) to become the official team sponsor, according to The sponsorship agreement runs through Oct. '13. It is the first time in Gillette's history that it has signed "such a sponsorship deal with a national team from the Arab world." The announcement was made at a press conference in Tunis on Thursday, in the presence of FTF officials and a number of players from the Tunisian national team. (, 10/4).

Marketing to a global audience through sports sponsorships involves a three-tier strategy, said SAP Exec Chris Burton: the league, the tournament and the individual. Most important to this strategy is keeping a consistent message across all three tiers and all markets around the world, he added during the first session of Day 2 of the 2012 IMG Sports Sponsorship Symposium. 

Global Sports Sponsorships

Chris Burton, SAP
Peter Farnsworth, Foxrock Partners
Michael Robichaud, MasterCard Worldwide

Brands’ global strategies, although unified, should be empowered at the local level, panelists said, so that marketers at every level are motivated to push the brand. For companies interested in expanding globally, soccer remains in the lead as the No. 1 sport with upside and marketability, but basketball follows closely behind. Said Foxrock Partners' Peter Farnsworth: "The NBA has a tremendous amount of upside, and a large part of that is because of their operational structure as a single entity and how they build their business internationally." He added that soccer teams in Europe can suffer as each team markets itself individually, which increases the difference between the "haves" and the "have nots."

Quick hits:

Chris Burton, on managing global sponsorships: “Ours is all centralized. We have a global strategy where we can make some smaller regional investments. Clearly, we do loads of local research. But we have a centralized strategy. I guess it was about 10 years ago that there were some donkeys in Argentina that had our logo on the back of them. Argentina did it, so we were like, ‘OK, we have a centralized strategy now.’”

Michael Robichaud, on Visa’s global campaigns using the Olympics and World Cup: “From a sponsorship point of view, it’s a bit of a challenge because they do have the big ones, but the way we look at it is there is not a whole lot of flexibility in their portfolio because they’ve made these huge investments. We know where they’re going to be for the next eight-plus years, so we can kind of plan around it.“

Peter Farnsworth, on B2B sponsorships: “B2B marketing is a completely different set of objectives. I think there’s a huge opportunity for that. A lot of companies miss out on that opportunity. Deloitte was a sponsor of the Olympics, but what were they really doing? You have to make sure to tell your story.”

Peter Farnsworth, on local verse centralized approaches: “I think a local buy-in is critical. When I was at the NBA, we always made sure the local decision-makers were vested in it. Because if they’re not vested in it then they’re not going to activate it locally. And you don’t want to be in a situation where corporate is forcing something down people’s throats. If you don’t have that local buy-in then it’s not going to be a lasting relationship (IMG SPORTS MARKETING SYMPOSIUM 2012 BLOG, 10/4).

Tokyo 2020 named All Nippon Airways as an official partner. ANA will collaborate extensively with the previously announced sponsors, ASICS, DESCENTE, JTB, Mizuno and Kinki Nippon Tourist. ANA is an official partner and official airline partner of the Japan Olympic Committee (Tokyo 2020). ... Frankfurt-based German Basketball Bundesliga club Fraport Skyliners signed a sponsorship deal with Chinese sportswear manufacturer Peak to become the team's official outfitter. The three-year deal includes on and off-field outfits for the club's BBL team. In addition, Peak will also provide the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and the Fraport Skyliners Dance Team with its products (Fraport Skyliners). ... Internal logistics company Interroll has become a promotional partner of the Sauber F1 Team (Sauber F1 Team). ... Heart rate training technology company Polar will be the official timing partner for the E.ON IBU World Cup Biathlon beginning in '12-13. The contract was signed with Infront Sports and Media. The deal includes the 2013 IBU World Championships Biathlon in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic (Infront).