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Volume 10 No. 25

Marketing and Sponsorship

U.K. tennis player Laura Robson was "offered an unusual distraction" when she appeared on the world's first mirror tennis court created by adidas to promote its first collection of tennis attire by English fashion designer Stella McCartney, according to Liv Lee of the London DAILY MAIL. Robson was joined by world No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki, of Denmark, and No. 15 Maria Kirilenko, of Russia, at the media event, which was held Sunday in Melbourne where the Australian Open will be held (DAILY MAIL, 1/13). TENNIS GRANDSTAND's Romana Cvitkovic reported adidas' debut of McCartney's apparel line "will be accompanying the launch with a fan competition," which runs from Monday through Jan. 27 on adidas' Women's Instagram page. The competition asks fans to capture their adidas tennis look "for a chance to win some of the new kit." The debut of McCartney's collection is "only the first chapter" of the '13 adidas women's campaign to be launched in March (TENNIS GRANDSTAND, 1/11).

THE MONEY-DROP: In London, Kevin Mitchell wrote, "Women's tennis does glitz. It shimmers and shimmies, it sells beauty that has little to do with the loveliness of a drop shot but everything to do with the money-drop," and Robson "seems to have picked up on the concept as deftly as the sport's queen of glamour, Maria Sharapova, who has spent much of her time leading up to the start of the Australian Open pumping up her latest sponsored commodity, a sugary sweet for love-struck teens called Sugarpova" (GUARDIAN, 1/13).

The NBA and adidas have expanded their relationship to make the league's official global uniform and apparel provider the presenting partner of NBA London Live 2013. As presenting partner, adidas will have branding in-arena including two logos prominently featured on the court, and will also conduct on-court fan competitions and a social media campaign around the upcoming sold out regular-season game between the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks on Thursday at the O2 Arena. Both teams will also wear commemorative NBA London Live 2013 presented by adidas shooting shirts, with additional Knicks and Pistons merchandise available in-arena and at retail outlets including the adidas store on London's Oxford Street (NBA).

When the players walk out on court in Melbourne for the Australian Open, "the sweat businesses put in to create the stage for the showdown" will still be visible, according to Gillian Duncan of THE NATIONAL. To whom the responsibility for all of the behind-the-scenes work falls "depends on the tournament in question." IMG VP and Managing Dir Greg Sproule, whose company is involved in the organization of the Australian Open, said: "We do not run the Australian Open. That's done by Tennis Australia who do an incredible job, but we assist them in certain areas. We assist them in areas like commercial rights, so in finding sponsors for the event and similarly in television distribution." Incidentally, TV is an area where sport and business "really converge." Professional Sports Group CEO Jamie Cunningham said, "The Australian Open is one of the big four, so its revenue is probably three or four times the amount of a standard ATP event from the television side of things." Aside from the prize money, a grand slam win "can end up being worth a lot more to a player." Sproule added, "It depends on their marketability. It depends on to some degree, but not all degree, where they are from and how much they travel around the world. If they speak other languages" (THE NATIONAL, 1/13).

The French Rugby Federation (FFR) has revealed a partnership with BMW, according to LES ECHOS. The German car brand will replace Renault, which had been a partner of the FFR since '08. A spokesperson for the FFR said, "Since the 1st of January 2013, BMW has partnered with the French rugby federation as an official partner in the automobile category. The brand will thus be a partner of French rugby and the France XV for the next four years." In December, Renault revealed it "did not wish to increase its financial participation in the sponsoring of the FFR" and that the contract would not be renewed. A number of sources said that the new contract with BMW was worth €4M ($5.3M) annually, compared to the €3M ($4M) the FFR received form Renault (LES ECHOS, 1/11).

The French Handball Federation (FFH) has agreed to a partnership with soft drink brand Oasis. The deal is for four years and will see the company's logo on the men's and women's national team uniforms. Terms of the deal were not disclosed (FFH). ... Ligue 1 club Nancy has signed a three-year kit deal with Nike. The American sportswear company will replace Umbro starting next season (Nancy). ... German Hockey League (DEL) club Krefeld Pinguine has started selling "Good Bye Christian" fan shirts to commemorate the departure of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff back to North America to rejoin the NHL Buffalo Sabres. The shirt will be available for three weeks and has a price tag of €18 ($24) (Krefeld Pinguine). ... Serie A club Internazionale has agreed to a deal with Iberostar Hotels & Resorts. The Spanish company becomes the 13th firm in the Milan club's official partner category (SOCCEREX, 1/11). ... Thai Beverage has increased its sponsorship of the Volleyball Association of Thailand from 16.5M baht ($545,000) a year to 25M baht ($826,000) a year after the previous deal ended last month. The new deal will last for four years (BANGKOK POST, 1/11).

DEALS ON THE GREEN: Time Warner Cable has partnered with English professional golfer Ian James Poulter in support of its Enjoy Sports Better initiative. The deal will feature Poulter in a national advertising campaign, as well as appearances at golf tournaments and exclusive opportunities with customers in TWC markets (TWC). ... Audi Australia has signed on as the presenting partner of the 2013 Australian Amateur Championships, which begin in Melbourne next week (Golf Australia).