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Volume 6 No. 215

Marketing and Sponsorship

British insurance company Aviva will not renew its 13-year sponsorship of British athletics despite the sport's "increased profile following the Olympic successes of Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. The deal "expires at the end of the year." U.K. Athletics has not named a replacement, but recent media reports suggested the sport was "looking to increase its revenues by doing deals with a range of partners, rather than one exclusive sponsor." The new agreement will be "a test of the commercial appeal of sports like athletics on the back of a highly successful" London Games. Aviva also sponsors English rugby's Premiership and EPL Norwich City (REUTERS, 10/10). MARKETING MAGAZINE's John Reynolds reported that the announcement of the split "follows a successful summer of athletics" during the London Games. It also follows the appointment of Paralympian Sophia Warner as U.K. Athletics commercial director. Aviva CMO Amanda MacKenzie said, "We feel now is the right time to pass on the baton to another organisation." The insurer and U.K. Athletics will split at the end of the year (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 10/10).

Chelsea FC has signed a deal with a Myanmar-based whiskey brand to become the club's official whiskey, according to John Reynolds of MARKETING MAGAZINE. The club claims it to be "the first time an advertising deal has been agreed between Myanmar and a western brand." The agreement involves Myanmar-based Int'l Beverage Trading Company and its flagship Grand Royal Whisky brand. The deal is for two years, starting with the '13-14 season. As part of the contract, the club will visit the country in a preseason tour. It is also the first time Chelsea has signed an official whiskey partner. Sports agency Sports Revolution brokered the deal (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 10/11).

The Canadian Soccer Association agreed to a long-term partnership agreement with new premium partner telecom company Bell Canada. Bell's partnership provides the CSA with financial and marketing support for Canada's national teams and the sport across the country. Also, all World Cup qualifiers featuring Canada will be available live on Bell Mobile TV beginning with the men’s national team’s match against Cuba on Friday and its match against Honduras on Tuesday. Both games will be broadcast on Bell superphones, smartphones and tablets. Bell’s logo will be featured on training kits and apparel used by all of Canada's national teams. Select training apparel will also be made available for public purchase in '13 (CSA).

Arsenal FC player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is set to "sign a lucrative deal" to become the new poster boy for telecom company O2, according to Sami Mokbel of the London DAILY MAIL. The player's representatives have entered into "formal negotiations" with officials from the company over a seven-figure per-year agreement for the 19-year-old to become the new face of its advertising campaigns. It is believed that the deal will be for the length of Chamberlain's current deal with the London club that expires in '16. The company's execs have pinpointed the young player as the "sportsman they want to lead their British-based promotions." Chamberlain "already has similar deals" with Nike, EA Sports and Disney (DAILY MAIL, 10/8).

Bond University signed an agreement with the Australian Rugby Union to become a partner of the Gold Coast Sevens Fever Pitch 2012. The new partnership will see Bond University open its training facilities to the Qantas Australian Men's and Women's Sevens teams and to other teams competing in the 2012 Gold Coast Sevens Fever Pitch tournament on Saturday and Sunday. ARU Deputy CEO Matt Carroll said, "With Gold Coast set to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, this partnership allows Bond University to build toward being a training location for the Qantas Australian Men's and Women's Sevens teams and other competing nations." He added, "While this is a deal for the 2012 tournament, ARU looks forward to working closely with Bond to develop a stronger and broader partnership in the near future" (ARU).

Adidas and NBA Minnesota Timberwolves PG Ricky Rubio, of Spain, have agreed on a 12-year $100M partnership, according to ELCONFIDENCIAL.com. Reports of a possible deal first surfaced in the spring, but nothing had been made official until now. Adidas' two other big NBA stars under contract are Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose and L.A. Lakers C Dwight Howard  (ELCONFIDENCIAL.com, 10/11). Adidas Global Basketball VP Lawrence Norman said, "When you watch Ricky on the court and talk to him after practice, you understand his pure enjoyment of playing basketball and that makes him a perfect fit for our brand." Rubio said, "Growing up in Spain I always loved the adidas brand and their products. The last few years they’ve really changed the game with new technology and style in basketball shoes and apparel, and I can’t wait to be a part of it" (adidas).

Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning and NBA Miami Heat G Dwyane Wade formally announced a multiyear partnership involving the creation of a new athletic footwear and apparel brand called "Wade." The brand will serve as the centerpiece of Li-Ning's int'l basketball strategy and be shaped by Wade's creative and strategic direction. The line will be available soon at Li-Ning retail stores and online throughout China, and is set to debut in the U.S. in ‘13. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Wade will serve as Chief Brand Officer, and be responsible for guiding the creative direction of all Wade products. Prior to the official launch of his signature shoe, Wade will wear two specially-created Li-Ning-branded basketball sneakers during upcoming Heat games, including two preseason games to be played later this week in Beijing and Shanghai. Li-Ning also has plans to launch a Wade kids footwear and apparel line in the future. CAA Sports brokered the agreement for Wade (Li-Ning). XINHUA reported that Wade was in Bejing Wednesday for his deal with Li-Ning, "giving his respects to the company's boss Li Ning himself." Wade said, "I know him well. I've read many reports about him. Mr. Li is a very respectable person. He's done great job not only in sports, and I hope to have more cooperation with Li-Ning than sports." Li gave Wade the new shoes, the Way of Wade, for his upcoming games in China. The Heat will play two preseason NBA games against the L.A. Clippers in Beijing and Shanghai (XINHUA, 10/10).

South Africa state-owned communications company Telkom has agreed to a five-year sponsorship deal with Telkom Knockout trophy, a "competition amongst 16 South African Premier Soccer League teams," according to VENTURES-AFRICA.com. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The agreement extends the partnership Telkom has had with the competition since '06. Telkom is "one of four companies" associated with the PSL. Bank Absa and telecom company MTN renewed their deals in August while Nedbank, sponsor of Nedbank Cup, is "likely to extend its deal with the PSL." Furthermore, Telkom will continue giving to the needy, with the player-nominated Man of the Match in each of the 15 games "having a charity of his choice" receive a check for 5,000 rand ($571) (VENTURES-AFRICA.com, 10/9).

The NBA is “orchestrating its sixth China Games tour to enhance its largest market outside” the U.S., and the Miami Heat and “some of their players hope to cash in on the opportunity as well,” according to Craig Davis in a front-page piece for the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. The trip coincides with Heat G Dwyane Wade “entering a sneaker deal with Chinese apparel brand Li-Ning.” Heat F Shane Battier, who endorses rival Chinese shoe and apparel brand Peak, said, "There is great potential because people love basketball in China. This is not a false enthusiasm. These people are passionate about the game." Among the planned events is “the first Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday in Shanghai, with Heat players leading a youth fitness clinic.” Battier said it will be "a dog-and-pony show once we get over there." But the Heat players are “prepared to roll with the demands and distractions.” They understand “it's all part of the global business of basketball -- even if business in China can be over the top.” Meanwhile, Heat officials are “coming with an agenda of their own, with meetings planned with a number of potential corporate sponsors.” The franchise already has “a deal with Peak, and in December, it entered into a high-profile partnership with Tsingtao beer.” Heat President of Business Operations Eric Woolworth said, "It's an opportunity for us to bring Chinese companies back to Miami." He added, “I think there are some real opportunities for us to do more." But Woolworth said that this is “foremost the NBA's gig -- they're footing most of the bill for the trip.” The NBA reported that sales of its merchandise in China have “grown 800% over the past five years.” Heat F LeBron James' jersey “is the No. 3 best-seller behind Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/10).

HOPPING ON BOARD: The NBA China Games will feature Heat-Clippers matchups Thursday at the MasterCard Center in Beijing and Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. They will have support from marketing partners including adidas, China Mobile, Emirates, Dongfeng Fengshen, Gatorade, Harbin Beer, Mengniu, SAP, Sprite, Subway and Visa. The brands are conducting a variety of grassroots events, consumer sweepstakes and media and retail promotions that will allow winning fans to attend the games and bring int'l exposure to the league. NBA China also will host the first Fan Appreciation Day this year on Saturday at the Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai (NBA China).

EPL club Newcastle United is "unlikely to face the threat of a protest or boycott" from its four Muslim players over the controversial £25M ($40.1M) sponsorship deal with short-term loans company Wonga, according to Jason Mellor of the LONDON TIMES. Concerns have been raised that Newcastle’s Islamic players Demba Ba, Papiss Demba Cissé, Hatem Ben Arfa and Cheik Tioté "could refuse to wear shirts carrying the company’s logo under the observance of Sharia." The club made no official comment on the issue Wednesday night, "but sources close to the team played down the prospect of any form of protest or refusal to wear the shirt once the new deal comes into effect" next season. The Muslim Council of Britain has insisted that there is an "element of personal choice in how closely this particular strand of Sharia is followed." Sources "close to the four players" noted that a protest "would run the risk of hypocrisy" because of Newcastle’s previous shirt sponsors, Virgin Money and Northern Rock, both also money lenders (LONDON TIMES, 10/11).

Brasileiro club Flamengo VP Hélio Ferraz revealed that adidas "accepted to modify a couple points" in its contract proposal. The changes left board members of the club enthusiastic, and the deal is "well on its way to being finalized." Ferraz said, "We are advancing in the negotiations and are close to finalizing everything" (LANCENET, 10/10). ... Second Bundesliga club FC St. Pauli "extended its partnership with car brand Mini until '14." Mini, which is part of the BMW Group, "has been a partner of the club since '10." The deal was brokered by sports marketing agency UFA Sports (NEW-BUSINESS.de, 10/10).

Euroleague basketball revealed a new partnership deal that makes int'l sports equipment company Spalding the global provider of the official ball for both the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and the Eurocup during the next five seasons. Spalding has been working with Euroleague basketball this summer to introduce Spalding balls at the upcoming Turkish Airlines Euroleague qualifying round. Spalding and Euroleague basketball will continue the development of the exclusive Euroleague basketball ball during the regular season and the top 16 to launch the league's official ball in the playoffs phase of the '12-13 Turkish Airlines Euroleague (Euroleague).

IN OTHER NEWS: Euroleague basketball and AEG will partner to bring the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four to London's O2 arena. The agreement includes a mutual option to play the '14 edition at the O2, as well. This marks the first time that a European basketball title game will take place in the U.K. (Euroleague).

Adidas' contract proposal to Brasileiro club Flamengo includes a promise to sell the club's jerseys in a minimum of 1,500 stores worldwide. The sportswear company will also have a spot on its website dedicated to all the team's merchandise (LANCENET.com.br, 10/11). ... The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has agreed to a partnership through '14 with mineral water brand Cabreiroá (RFEF). ... Norwegian sports brand Swix is the new title sponsor of Ski Classics. The long distance cross country ski championship will now be called the Swix Ski Classics (Swix). ... Sportfive Int'l has signed online betting company bwin to sponsor its Qualifiers 2014 marketing program. The package will deliver perimeter advertising exposure for the int'l online betting company across Sportfive's marketing rights portfolio (Sportfive). ... Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu has extended his partnership with German sports glove supplier Reusch. The agreement will see Sirigu continue to wear the Reusch Keon gloves until the end of the calendar year before he switches to the Reusch Argos in January (MAQUINADOESPORTE.com.br, 10/11).

DOWN UNDER: National Rugby League club South Sydney Rabbitohs re-signed its shorts sponsor Alcatel. The mobile phone brand's logo will continue to appear on the players' home and away playing shorts through '13 (Rabbitohs). ... Australia's National Basketball League club Melbourne Tigers signed on Pendo Industries as a sponsor for the '12-13 season. Pendo will be featured on the players' singlets for at least the first two games of the regular season (Tigers). ... Audi has become an official partner of Golf Australia. The partnership will see Audi involved in growing grassroots golf in the country. Already, Audi sponsors the Audi quattro Cup for amateur golfers, as well as partners with tournaments on the European Senior Tour and Ladies European Tour (Golf Australia).