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Volume 10 No. 23

Marketing and Sponsorship

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that if Coca-Cola enters F1 as a sponsor, it "would do so with one of its energy drink brands," according to It was reported earlier this year that Coke could be eying F1. Sources said that McLaren could "ultimately win the deal," replacing the British team's flagging title backer Vodafone. Asked about the rumors, Ecclestone said: "The president of Coca-Cola is a very good friend of mine, but the head of marketing has always said he didn't think Formula One was good for them." Ecclestone admitted that "if they do come in, I think they will come in with one of their energy drink brands, not Coke itself." Coca-Cola's leading energy drink brand is Relentless. Ecclestone, however, warned: "You wouldn't want to take Red Bull on" (, 11/9).

La Liga club Athletic Bilbao will use Nike as its kit provider starting in the '13-14 season, according to the EFE. The club had a deal through '17 with Umbro, but the company was recently sold by Nike, which owned the brand. The kit change will not "have an impact" on the club as Nike will continue paying the €2.6M ($3.3M) annually fee that Umbro had agreed to back in '09 (EFE, 11/8).

Super League rugby club Bradford Bulls announced a four-year £1.2M ($1.9M) sponsorship deal with money-lending firm Provident Financial Group, an agreement "believed to be one of the biggest the Super League has ever seen," according to Hannah Postles of the TELEGRAPH & ARGUS. The news was announced at a press conference at Odsal stadium where "a new shirt bearing the sponsor’s name was unveiled" (TELEGRAPH & ARGUS, 11/9). reported that the deal lasts 4 years and will see the Bulls' stadium at "Odsal renamed The Provident Stadium" (, 11/9). In Bradford, Ross Heppenstall wrote Bulls coach Francis Cummins believes the Bulls’ lucrative new sponsorship deal "sends out a message" about the club’s desire to re-establish themselves as a force in Super League. Cummins said that the agreement "underlined the strength of the Bulls brand and declared." He said, "It’s a massive deal for the club and it sends out a message." Cummins added: "You’ve probably got five or six real brands in rugby league -- Bradford, Leeds, St. Helens, Wigan and Warrington. This deal with Provident gives the club stability and shows how much people value the club, the brand and the city" (TELEGRAPH & ARGUS, 11/10).

Consumer goods company Unilever is "placing rugby at the heart of its marketing strategy" for its Dove Men+Care range, according to Nicole Kemp of MARKETING MAGAZINE. Under the new deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union, Dove Men+Care will get extensive matchday branding rights at the Aviva Stadium, experiential and sampling rights, as well as access to national team players and corporate hospitality (, 11/9).'s Bernice Barrington wrote that Dove Men+Care is "already a premium partner" to the European Rugby Club for the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup tournaments, a partner to the Welsh Rugby Union and the naming-rights partner to the Dove Men Series autumn fixtures at the Millennium Stadium (, 11/8).

The French rugby team's jersey will remain without a sponsor, according to Olivia Derreumaux of LE FIGARO. With the recent six-year sponsorship deal signed between the All Blacks and AIG, France is now the last rugby nation without a shirt sponsor, apart from its kit deal with adidas. But French Rugby Federation (FFR) President Pierre Camou does not see this changing any time soon. Camou said, "The shirt is the identity. It would really be the ultimate, ultimate recourse to sell the family's jewelry." Although, France rugby has become "a genuine brand." Marketing agency Havas Sports & Entertainement CEO Lucien Boyer said the brand was "undoubtedly increasing in value, especially since the 2011 World Cup." The decision is "is even more surprising" when you consider that the FFR is scheduled to show a deficit of €5.7M ($7.2M) for the '12-13 campaign. For comparision's sake, telecom company O2 pays €8M ($10.2M) a year for the rights to appear on England jersey, "plenty enough to cover the losses of this season" (LE FIGARO, 11/10).

Samsung Electronics Co. has signed a sponsorship agreement for the 17th Asian Games Incheon 2014. The company became the longest-running prestige partner, after becoming the sponsor of the Asian Games for five consecutive times, since the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games. Samsung will provide multifaceted support during the Asian Games, including mobile, audio and visual products and home appliances. In addition, it will supply personal computers (desktops and notebook computers) to Olympic personnel for the 17th Asian Games Incheon 2014, expanding the coverage of its sponsorship. The agreement specifies that the company will continue to implement a marketing campaign based on its rights as a sponsor, such as using the logo and emblem. The deal also includes Samsung’s presence in the medal awarding ceremony, venue branding and exclusive rights to conferring the 'Samsung MVP Award.' The 2014 Incheon Asian Games will be held from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4 with more than 20,000 athletes and staff, along with journalists from 45 countries (Samsung).

Volkswagen Group Australia will continue its position as the official vehicle of the Australian PGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola. The deal is for two years with an option for a third. It will see Volkswagen continue to supply vehicles for player and tournament transport, as well as for a number of other activations, including a hole-in-one prize (PGA). ... Tokyo 2020 announced Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL) as its latest bid partner. JAL is the seventh partner to join the bid. JAL Representative Dir and President Yoshiharu Ueki said, "The JAL group will utilise both its domestic and international networks to the fullest in various areas, such as specially painted aircrafts, airline magazines and airline videos, in order to realise the goal of hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo” (Tokyo 2020). ... The ATP revealed the extension of its partnership with sports equipment company Head for a further five years. Under the agreement, the company will continue to be the official tennis ball of the ATP World Tour, as well as the official ball of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, through '17. The agreement marks an extension to a partnership which began back in '94, one which will celebrate its 20-year anniversary on Jan. 1, making Head the longest-standing partner of the ATP (ATP).