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Volume 6 No. 213

Marketing and Sponsorship

The IOC signed a four-year agreement with Audi that makes its Volkswagen brand the organization's official vehicle supplier. Audi replaces Mercedes, which had been providing vehicles to the IOC since '91. The Volkswagen brand will provide more than 40 vehicles to the IOC for use in and around the organization's HQs in Lausanne, Switzerland. It also will provide vehicles during IOC meetings around the world. The deal runs through '16. Audi also sponsors the Int'l Ski Federation (FIS), the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association and national Olympic committees in Germany, Russia, Switzerland and Finland.

Rory McIlroy "cleared the decks" for his expected multimillion-dollar deal with Nike by announcing the end of his five-year relationship with luxury hotel group Jumeirah, according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Nike is gearing up for an announcement, expected next week, that the "hottest talent in golf" is signing an exclusive deal to promote its golf merchandise, including clubs and clothing. The 23-year-old began "shifting his sponsorship strategy" in Oct. '11 by parting company with agent Andrew “Chubby” Chandler of ISM. Twelve months later, he decided to end his relationship with his club supplier Titleist. The Nike deal is believed to be worth in the region of $20M a year and the contract "may last 10 years" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/8). Jumeirah Group CEO and President Gerald Lawless described McIlroy as a "tremendous ambassador for our brand, both as a consummate golfing professional and as a young man with a great future ahead of him" (AP, 1/8). The London GUARDIAN noted McIlroy was believed to have earned around £4.4M ($7.1M) from his five-year deal with the Dubai-based company (GUARDIAN, 1/8).

OAKLEY PUSHES BACK: REUTERS' Keith Weir reported American sunglasses company Oakley has "launched legal action" to try to retain its sponsorship of McIlroy, who is set to become the new face of Nike. Oakley, owned by Italy's Luxottica, is challenging the move and "started legal action in its home state of California last month." In a statement, the company said, "Oakley's contract with Rory has a right of first refusal that permits us to retain Rory as an Oakley endorser by matching any offer he receives covering our products" (REUTERS, 1/8).

ManU has revealed a three-and-a-half year partnership with Indonesian tire manufacturer Multistrada. Multistrada produces almost 50,000 tires daily and exports to more than 83 countries. With more than 54 million followers in Indonesia, ManU is the country’s most-supported football club, with a cumulative TV reach of more than 903 million Indonesian fans last season (ManU).

U.S. energy drink company Monster "will increase its MotoGP presence and become the title sponsor of the Yamaha factory team for at least the next two years," according to Roman Wittemeier of MOTORSPORT TOTAL. The company's black and green colors "will be featured on both YZR-M1 motorcycles, as well as on the overalls of both drivers, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, and the uniform of the whole team." The partnership between Monster and the Yamaha's satellite Tech 3 "is not affected by the new deal." In addition, current MotoGP world champion Lorenzo "received a personal sponsorship deal from Monster." The deal between Yamaha and Monster "will run through the end of '14" (MOTORSPORT TOTAL, 1/8).

BLACK GOLD: MOTORSPORT AKTUELL's Johannes Orasche reported Moto2 team Intact GP "has signed a new premium sponsorship deal with Germany-based motor oil company Liqui Moly." The new deal "takes immediate effect and runs for two years." Intact GP driver and defending Moto3 world champion Sandro Cortese "will, at the latest, feature the company's logo on his chest during the final testing session in Qatar on April 7" (MOTORSPORT AKTUELL, 1/8).

Emerging South Korean golfer Noh Seung-yul signed a multi-year deal with Nike Golf on Tuesday, according to Kang Seung-woo of the KOREA TIMES. Nike Golf Korea did not release the terms but said that the contract "is speculated to be for at least three years." The deal will see the 21-year-old use Nike's clubs and balls, and he will wear its footwear, gloves, apparel, headwear and accessories. Noh made his PGA Tour debut last year and competed in 28 tournaments, making three top-10 finishes and 24 straight cuts. Noh is the first golfer to strike a deal with Nike since Grace Park in '03 and Choi Kyoung-ju in '05 (KOREA TIMES, 1/8).

Juventus has announced a new partnership with Energy Trade International. Under the new deal, the company's logo will be displayed on pitch-side LED screens, interview backdrops and across the club's various communication platforms (Juventus). ... Swiss-based insurance company Zurich Versicherung "has signed on as TV programming sponsor for the 2013 FIS Nordic Ski World Championships." The insurance group acquired the last remaining sponsoring package of German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF "as presenting sponsor for the championship" that will take place in Val di Fiemme, Italy from Feb. 21 - March 3 (HORIZONT, 1/8). ... Brasileiro club Vasco has agreed to a partnership with Kraft Foods for the Campeonato Carioca (Rio de Janeiro State Championship). The company will have its brand Fresh on the back of the team's jersey. Terms of the deal were not disclosed (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 1/7).

IN GERMANY: Bielefeld, Germany-based construction supply company Schüco "will drastically reduce its sports sponsorship deals and focus more on its core business." Company shareholder Hinrich Mählmann said the company's involvement in int'l golf will be "reduced to zero." An exemption is Schüco's stadium naming-rights deal with 3rd League club Arminia Bielefeld. The company said it understands its "local responsibility" and wants to enter negotiations regarding its SchücoArena naming-rights deal, which expires at the end of the year (NEUE WESTFÄLLISCHE, 1/7). ... The German Basketball Federation (DBB) has signed a new partnership deal with insurance group ERGO. The new partnership went into effect on Jan. 1 and runs through '14. The new partnership will, amongst other areas, focus on a renewed fan project (DBB).