Short-term loans company Wonga "is in talks over a shirt sponsorship deal" with Premier League football club Newcastle United, according to Ben Martin of the London TELEGRAPH. The "controversial company" is in discussions to become Newcastle’s next shirt sponsor in a deal that "is expected to last at least three years" from the start of the '13-14 season. Wonga’s logo is already on the shirts of Championship club Blackpool as part of a sponsorship agreement, which lasts until the end of this season. Wonga would replace banking group Virgin Money as Newcastle’s shirt sponsor, after Virgin's deal was terminated a year early last week (TELEGRAPH, 10/8). In London, James Quinn reported Wonga will sponsor "both the shirts and the club's stadium" in a deal believed to be worth £8M ($12.8M) a year (TELEGRAPH, 10/6). However, REUTERS' Keith Weir reported that the deal is for "shirt sponsorship only," citing a source close to the deal. A Wonga spokesperson declined to comment on the reported Newcastle link but said that the company "remained committed to working with Blackpool." Premier League rules allow a company to sponsor the shirts of more than one club, meaning a promotion for Blackpool back to the top flight "would not impede a deal with Newcastle" (REUTERS, 10/8).
UNDER FIRE: MARKETING MAGAZINE's John Reynolds reported that Wonga "has been hit by criticism for the high interest it charges on its loans," which are "much higher than most other lenders." However, Wonga said that "the majority of its customers pay their loans back in less than a month." Wonga has also been criticised by the Office of Fair Trading "over the way it carries out debt collection, a criticism rejected by Wonga" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 10/8). MARKETING WEEK's Sebastian Joseph reported that Newcastle City Council Labour Leader Nick Forbes "criticised the potential deal" on Twitter. Forbes wrote, “Wonga about to sponsor #NUFC? Disgraceful if true, will undermine all the work we are doing to crack down on legal loan sharking” (MARKETINGWEEK.co.uk, 10/8).
A study revealed that European football clubs have "broken the €500M ($649M) mark for shirt sponsorship deals for the first time," according to Arne Richter of the DPA. The study, conducted by sport marketing company Sport+Markt, showed that Europe's top football leagues have generated a total of €522M ($677M) "through shirt sponsorship deals." The 20 EPL clubs lead the way with deals worth a total of €148.7M ($193M). The EPL is followed by the German Bundesliga (€119.8M/$155.5M), Italian Serie A (€82.8M/$107.4M), Spanish La Liga (€78.7M/$102M), French Ligue 1 (€52.3M/$67.9M) and Dutch Eredivisie (€39.8M/$51.6M). Sport+Markt Consultant Philipp Kupfer said, "Breaking the €500M mark shows that shirt sponsorships are a premium communication tool. Especially during times of crises, companies count on such a premium tool to reach their customers." The number also shows that football in Europe is a "two-tier society." The top five clubs FC Barcelona, ManU, Liverpool FC, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich earn €126M ($163.5M) with their shirt deals, which equals more than 20% in revenue of shirt sponsorship deals from all 116 top-flight clubs in the study. The financial sector is the biggest investor in shirt sponsorships in Europe with a total spending of €111.5M ($144.7M). The industry with "the biggest increase is the automobile industry," which doubled its investment to €40M ($51.9M). In Germany, the "biggest investors are energy companies," which spend €39M ($50.6) on shirt sponsorships (DPA, 10/8).
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Brasileiro club Flamengo's board of directors will receive "in the upcoming days" a 10-year sponsorship proposal from adidas that could be worth as much as R$465M ($228.9M), according to Braga and Mendes of LANCENET.com.br. The club will receive R$35M ($17.2M) starting in '13 with the amount increasing every year until the deal expires in '22. In the last year of the contract, the club could receive "as much as" R$57.1M ($28.2M). Flamengo's current sponsor Olympikus pays the club approximately R$18M ($8.9M) annually. If the deal is approved by Flamengo's BOD, the new adidas jerseys will be launched for the start of the Campeonato Brasileiro 2013. This week, the German company and the Rio club are "negotiating two clauses in the contract." One of the clauses concerns the possible future increase in value of the Flamengo brand and the club "wanting to safeguard itself in terms of the amount that would be received." Adidas' proposal to integrate Flamengo into its class A of clubs "will be taken to other European clubs" if the team passes up the deal. The offer "has generated resistance" from some sectors of the club because of the longevity of the contract (LANCENET.com.br, 10/8).
Brasileiro club Corinthians has launched a new collection of shirts with player caricatures. The club chose four players that were part of the Copa Libertadores winning side and hired Argentinian caricaturist Gonza Rodriguez to work on the designs. The shirts are on sale for R$59.90 ($29.50) (MAQUINADOESPORTE.com.br, 10/5). ... Int’l Sports Promotion Society will become the presenting partner of the Nelson Mandela Championship, the season-opening event of the 2013 European Tour int’l schedule. The event will be held at the Royal Durban Country Club in South Africa from Dec. 6-9 (ISPS). ... A-League club Brisbane Roar re-signed community partner Pauls milk & dairy. Pauls has renewed as naming-rights partner of the Roar Active Program, a junior club and school program aimed at getting kids involved in sports. The program targets children aged 4-12 in primary schools, junior clubs and early childhood centers. It has also hosted more than 25,000 junior participants in the last 12 months (Brisbane Roar). ... Crompton Greaves announced that "it will continue to be part of the Professional Golf Tour of India calendar and sponsor the CG Open for another three years" (HINDU, 10/8).
UP THE ANTE: Car rental company Sixt's new ad has been inspired by the betting scandal involving handballer Nicolas Karabatic. The company has come out with a display that reads: "M. Karabatic, at this price, we bet that you will rent" (SPORTUNE.fr, 10/8). ... Bundesliga club Hannover 96 partnered with online betting provider Sportingbet. The deal includes cam carpets on the field and ad space on LED and rotating boards inside the stadium. This new deal means that 17 of the 18 Bundesliga clubs have a partnership with a betting company (Sportingbet).