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Volume 6 No. 213

Marketing and Sponsorship

The Indian Premier League "showed it has not lost its sheen as a brand when it roped in" Pepsi as title sponsor for the next five years, according to the GULF NEWS. Pepsi, which has been associated with cricket sponsorships in India for more than two decades, offered $71.93M "to outbid" mobile service provider Aircel for the rights. IPL Chair Rajeev Shukla said that the contract is for a five-year period and will end in '17. Realty firm DLF ended its five-year association with the IPL as the title sponsor in August, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India floated the tenders last month (GULF NEWS, 11/21). The PTI noted the title sponsor rights include "a number of branding and other marketing benefits" at every IPL match during the season, as specifically outlined in the Invitation to Tender. Pepsi Marketing Exec Dir Deepika Warrier said, "The IPL is a tremendous product. It is a brand which rivals any other sporting brand across the world" (PTI, 11/21).

German and int'l companies spend billions annually on sports sponsorship deals. One of the leading sports marketing companies in Germany, SPORTFIVE Deutschland, helps companies and clubs find the best sponsorship opportunities. SPORTFIVE Deutschland CEO Philipp Hasenbein took time to talk with SBD Global Staff Writer HJ Mai about the German sports sponsorship market, the mass appeal of football and the challenges of digital content.

Q: SPORTFIVE Deutschland is one of the leading sports marketing companies. What aspect of sports-rights marketing makes up SPORTFIVE's core business?
Philipp Hasenbein:
SPORTFIVE Deutschland covers the whole spectrum of sports marketing -- from stadium advertising and shirt sponsorship deals to hospitality packages and media rights. Our core business in Germany is without a doubt football. SPORTFIVE has 14 professional football clubs in its marketing portfolio including defending Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund.

Q: What’s the current state of the German sports sponsorship market?
I think that we have a very stable foundation in the area of sports sponsorships in Germany. The German sports sponsoring index revealed that annually about €2.8B ($3.6B) is spent on sports sponsorships. This is first and foremost a huge sum, which has been stable over the past several years and remained stable in this overall economic downturn and, in my personal view, will stay stable.

Q: Have you experienced any market changes since the start of the economic crisis? Have companies spent less on sports sponsoring?
No, I think that especially during the economic crisis sports sponsorships are very attractive as companies try to conduct their communication more efficiently, and sports sponsorships are a great way to do so. The stability of the sports sponsorship market is a clear indication that companies view it as an efficient communication tool. In comparison to, for example, print advertising, which has seen a decline, sports sponsorships are seen as a long-term investment and their impact will be monitored over a long period.

Q: How big is the gap between football and other sports in regards to the amount of sponsorship deals?
Hasenbein: It is certain to say that in such difficult times the gap between football and other sports increases a little. Football is simply, due to its mass appeal and its attractiveness, as well as its status in society, the most sought-after sponsorship stage in sports.

Q: What are SPORTFIVE’s short and long-term goals?
It obviously helped that we have been able to establish a very sound market leadership in the area of brand rights in Germany, and in the German sports world, that we try to extend even further. In addition, we want to operate as a very knowledgeable partner for clubs and sponsors through service and expertise advantage in comparison to our competitors. This has been our ambition for the past 25 years, and we want to continue down this road.

Q: What economic developments do you follow with big interest?
Hasenbein: Overall, we are a problem solver. If a problem exists, we would like to take on this problem and try to find a solution for a club or a sponsor. In addition, we closely follow the developments surrounding football, not necessarily in Germany, but in Europe, and there we see that sometimes decisions are made regardless if they are rational or economically useful. Clubs take out loans and increase their debt capital, which leads to problems in other leagues. We believe that the Bundesliga has a good structure in this regard, and therefore it will have a competitive advantage over the next several years. In this context, it will be exciting to see how UEFA implements Financial Fair Play and the consequent regulations. In Germany, we are in a lucky position, despite a tense overall situation, that allows us to build on a positive economic development of the whole league. At least we are hoping that there is room for income growth.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge for your company?
The biggest challenge is certainly the incorporation of digital possibilities in our marketing concepts. I think this area provides us with the biggest opportunities but also with the biggest challenges as an offline and online marketing provider in sports. How will ad space on boards look like in five years? It is without a doubt an interesting area in which we, as a market leader and partner of the clubs, try to provide solutions. We will also focus on technical and content-related solutions. This could include loyalty programs, World Cup programs and certainly digital media solutions for clubs. All those things are issues that we deal with and that are very interesting.

Q: In what areas do you see the biggest potential for growth for SPORTFIVE?
We are currently working on developing digital solutions for clubs. It also is very interesting to take a look at fan behavior and try to come up with technical solutions for clubs that help implement those findings. An already existing technical solution to showcase digital content, and one which I personally find very appealing, is Sky Go. The online TV service [of German pay-TV provider Sky Deutschland] does a good job and offers new possibilities to present digital content on electronic devices to a mass audience.

U.K. advertising watchdog Advertising Standards Authority has criticized Pepsi for the way it ran a competition after one disgruntled family was "stripped of multiple wins after entering more than 11,000 times," according to Mark Sweney of the London GUARDIAN. Pepsi ran an on-pack prize promotion, fronted by footballer Didier Drogba, offering the chance to win £500 ($797) an hour when consumers entered part of a barcode online or by text. A party complained to the ASA to say that they "did not think the promotion was run fairly" after they had won several times but only been awarded one cash prize. Pepsi would not say how many times the family won, but decided to "only pay out for the first win for each family member." In its ruling, the ASA said using multiple email addresses was "not within the spirit" of the promotion. However, Pepsi "had not provided evidence" that the complainants entries were made by any means other than individuals using multiple emails. The ASA ruled that Pepsi had run an unfair competition because it had not made "significant" conditions of the promotion "sufficiently clear" (GUARDIAN, 11/21).

FIFA revealed that Brazilian trade and investment agency Apex-Brasil has agreed to become the fifth National Supporter of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The agreement provides the company with the rights to showcase the Brazilian industry in general as well as promoting Brazil as an innovative and sustainable country (FIFA). MEIO & MENSAGEM's Felipe Turlão reported that Apex will have the rights to "space on the outside of stadiums," as well as hospitality centers in the arenas. The deal was brokered by sports marketing agency Team Spirit (MEIO & MENSAGEM, 11/21).

Adidas has launched a new version of the official Ligue 1 ball for the second half of the season. The new ball, named "Le 80," celebrates the 80-year anniversary of professional football and its 19 champions. The names of all the league winners can be found on the ball. All Ligue 1 clubs will play with the new ball starting Week 16 (weekend of Dec. 8-9). The ball will go on sale Thursday at a price of €25 ($32) for the replica version and €130 ($166) for the authentic (Ligue 1).

Austrian-based TV channel ServusTV has become the first official title sponsor of the German Hockey League's (DEL) inaugural Winter Game. The league's first outdoor game, which will be played at the Stadium Nuremberg on Jan. 5, will feature the Nuremberg Ice Tigers and the Eisbären Berlin (DEL). ... The Commercial Bank of Dubai has extended its partnership with Meydan Racecourse in Dubai by offering a six-race card on Thursday. CBD has been "a long-time sponsor of racing in the UAE" (GULF NEWS, 11/21). ... UEFA has launched an invitation to tender for the supplier rights for the official match ball of the Euro 2016 qualifiers and Europe's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Included in the set of rights is the opportunity to design, produce and market the official match ball for the European qualifiers. The successful party will be able to develop a long-term partnership with UEFA and to contribute to the promotion of national team football (UEFA).

GOLF SIGNINGS: IAGTO, the global organization for golf tourism, and the Golf Environment Organization, the int'l non-profit dedicated to sustainable golf, have announced a new partnership, working closely to support and promote sustainability in golf tourism around the world (IAGTO). … Cobra Puma Golf has partnered with Australian Ladies Professional Golf, which will see it become the exclusive apparel supplier of the tour (ALPG).

DEALS IN THE NRL: National Rugby League club St. George Illawarra Dragons signed a three-year agreement ahead of next season with McGuigan Wines. The Int'l Winemaker of the Year will be seen on the front of the players' shorts until at least the end of '15 (Dragons). ... National Rugby League club Penrith Panthers signed car rental company Hertz as the club's sleeve sponsor for the '13 and '14 seasons. Panthers player Sam McKendry will represent the club as the ambassador of the partnership (Panthers).