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Volume 10 No. 23

Marketing and Sponsorship

The National Rugby League is bracing itself "for a complete overhaul of its biggest commercial partners," with Bundaberg Rum as the latest sponsor "to call fulltime on its association," according to Josh Massoud of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. Additionally, Toyota "is not guaranteed to continue its support of the national youth competitions," and the naming rights holder Telstra "continues to consider its future role." State of Origin also took a blow when it lost retailer Harvey Norman last month. The "potential exit of four of the game's biggest sponsors could leave the new Australian Rugby League Commission regime with an eight-figure hole to fill" in its budget, but insiders "are confident of securing replacements before next year's competition begins." The ARLC is "also on the verge of announcing a new broadcast deal across the Tasman, with interim CEO Shane Mattiske traveling to New Zealand this week for discussions with Sky NZ." Bundaberg said it was a "change in strategy," as opposed to "any dissatisfaction with rugby league." A source said that Bundaberg "wanted to reposition its image toward a wealthier demographic," as supported by the distillery's sponsorship of the Australian Masters golf in Melbourne. Toyota was "more tight-lipped about its ongoing negotiations to sponsor the national youth competition," which it has supported since '08. NRL Director of Commercial & Marketing Paul Kind said that "the changes had been anticipated." Kind: "We had always factored some change in our sponsorship portfolio this year" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 11/29).

Brasileiro B club América-MG and sportswear company Finta will not renew their kit deal, according to Mauro Zafalon of MAQUINA DO ESPORTE. After a one-year partnership, the contract is due to expire in December, and "there are slim chances it will be renewed." The club from Belo Horizonte and the company both said that the relationship was "very good and brought various benefits, but it should not be renewed." América-MG has already had conversations with "a number of kit supplier," but the names of these companies "remain a secret" (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 11/28).

Wales-based baker Peter's Pies has renewed its deal as Welsh Rugby Union's official supplier at the Millennium Stadium in a new three-year deal. Peter's will retain its presence within the main stadium bowl in the form of pitch-side perimeter branding for every WRU game, as well as working with the WRU on some innovative advertising. The Peter's Pie Mobile will also attend all home games (Welsh Rugby).

Sports marketing agency Kentaro and football rights agency Figer Group have announced a joint venture that will be based in São Paulo. Figer Group President Juan Figer said, "We have been searching for some time for the right joint venture partner to expand our activities within Brazil and beyond, as well as to further grow our international player trading activity globally. In Kentaro, we believe we have found the perfect partner" (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 11/29). ... The ATP 250 tournament in Kitzbühel, Austria "extended its title sponsorship deal with online betting provider bet-at-home for another two years" (KLEINE ZEITUNG, 11/22). ... The University of Canberra Brumbies and Land Rover have agreed to a two-year partnership that includes the Land Rover logo on the sleeve of the team's jersey and apparel (Brumbies). ... The Int'l Sailing Federation (ISAF) announced that MBrands International has joined the ISAF Connect to Sailing initiative as the exclusive performance partner for clothing and personal equipment. MBrands International is the holding company of two water sport brands: Magic Marine for sailing and Mystic for extreme water sports (ISAF).

FOOTBALL DEALS: Azimut Hotels has signed a three-year deal with Chelsea FC to become its official European hotel partner (Chelsea). ... Bottled water Voltic Ghana Ltd. has become the latest sponsor of Ghana's top-flight league in a $100,000 deal. Voltic renewed its sponsorship contract with the Ghana FA for the 16 teams (Ghana FA).