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Volume 10 No. 23

Marketing and Sponsorship

Nearly 90% of Swiss companies are involved in sports sponsorships, according to the 10th Swiss Sponsorship Barometer study conducted by sport marketing company Sport+Markt and the ESB European Sponsorship Exchange. The study also found the amount of sponsorship deals in Switzerland are increasing even during the current difficult economic times; Swiss companies have become more involved in sponsorship deals or professionalized their existing deals; and companies have drastically increased their expectations from sponsorship deals. The study polled 136 marketing directors of big Swiss companies. For more than half of the companies (55%) sponsorship has become a central tool in their marketing mix in comparison to advertisement and other communication tools. Four years ago this number was 41%. ESB European Sponsorship Exchange Managing Dir Hans-Willy Brockes said, "Almost no Swiss sponsor can avoid sports." A tremendous 89% of Swiss companies are involved in sports sponsorships. The sports with the highest sponsorship significance were golf, alpine skiing, football and hockey. Many decision makers were not as optimistic about the sponsorship development in sailing and figure skating (Sport+Markt).

PDF of survey press release.

British mobile brand  EE "is set to be the naming partner of Wembley Stadium," according to John Reynolds of MARKETING MAGAZINE. The FA "has been in the market seeking a commercial partner involving the national stadium." It "is hoping to raise around £8M ($12.8M) a year from a commercial deal," and sources said that EE "is close to signing the deal." The agreement "will not mean that the Wembley name is given over to a corporate sponsor, as the FA believes this would alienate fans, but it is likely to mean that EE will form part of the name, such as 'Wembley in association with EE.'" Wembley "has a number of current commercial deals, but not a lead sponsor." A deal between the FA and EE "would mark EE's first foray into football." However, its Orange and T-Mobile brands "have a heritage in the sport" (MARKETING MAGZINE, 11/28).

Long-term sponsor of the British Sailing Team, savings and investments company Skandia, has ended the partnership ahead of the contract's expiration in March. Skandia's parent company, Old Mutual, plans to rebrand its Skandia branded businesses in Europe to Old Mutual Wealth over the coming year. Due to the changes, existing sponsorship contracts will not be re-signed while the process is underway and while the group determines its new sponsorship strategy. The Royal Yachting Association is looking to replace Skandia with another partner or multiple partners, but would like to have a continuity of sponsors across the grassroots sector of sailing up to the Olympic and Paralympic Classes events (RYA).

Infront Sports & Media has signed six official sponsorship agreements for the women's European Handball Federation Euro 2012 tournament. Infront has also signed with Toshiba as the data and timing partner. The tournament will take place in the Serbian cities of Belgrade, Novi Sad, Vršac and Niš. The event’s official sponsors include office furniture company AJ, crafts company Bauhaus, postal company Bring, pump systems company Grundfos, insurance company Gjensidige and sports retailer Intersport. All brands have been committed to int'l handball for several years already -- with AJ being a partner of the EHF Euro since '98. In addition to the official sponsors, eight national suppliers are backing the tournament, including major domestic brands such as transportation company Lasta and energy company Serbia Gas (Infront).

NBA Miami Heat G Dwyane Wade said his job as a Li-Ning endorser is “just to try to, over the course of time, bring something new, and exciting,” because there is “a part of the world that likes to be different, and they like to be a part of something new and different,” according to David Aldridge of Wade spoke with Aldridge about his decision to leave Jordan Brand and sign with the Chinese shoe and apparel company earlier this year. The following is an excerpt from the Q&A:

Q: Do you think your decision will start to break the stranglehold that Nike and Brand Jordan have on the shoe game?
Wade: No, nothing dramatic right now. ... We just want to make an imprint, and prove, obviously, that our brand is just as good as any other brand.

Q: You had total control over design, construction, colors?
Wade: Yeah. It was tough. I had a short period of time to do everything. ... Normally you need a whole year, or a year and a half, or so more to create something. ... They did a great job of listening to kind of what I was saying I look for, and tried to create that with the first shoe. Obviously it'll get better as we go on.

Q: Did you get any resistance from your camp -- your agent, or anyone else -- to doing this?
Wade: They let me make the decision. They brought it to me. Once they brought it to me, obviously I've been with the Nike umbrella my whole career, college, etcetera. So that was my first feeling was, I have to give them (Brand Jordan) a shot to see if they really want me. ... I listened to them and gave them the first chance, and I decided it was time to move on.

Q: Did the Li-Ning people do anything to blow you away?
Wade: I've met and talked with Mr. Li Ning on many occasions, so many different times, and him telling me the importance of me being a partner, and not just an endorser. ... When I first went over to Jordan, it was cool, it was something I wanted to do. And once you realize what's the cool thing about it was, I wasn't a part of. The cool thing about Jordan is retro. And I'm not a part of that. Once I was in there, and it became, OK, now this is where you're at and this is the business of it, I seen some things that I felt probably wasn't good for me (, 11/26).

Bundesliga club Greuther Fürth has increased and extended its partnership with Volkswagen. The new exclusive partnership deal will run for at least two years until '14. The deal includes ad space on boards and various promotional events involving the team's players. In addition, Volkswagen will also support the club's youth teams (Volkswagen). ... Cycling Australia confirmed Mars Chocolate Australia as the naming-rights partner for the 2013 Cycling Australia Road National Championships. It is the seventh consecutive year that the company has supported the event, which will be held from Jan. 9-13 (Cycling Australia). ... English cricket club Durham has extended its shirt sponsorship deal with investment management and financial planning firm Brewin Dolphin until '16. Durham has worn the company's logos on its County Championship kit since '10 (Durham).