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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

Tennis Australia "has defended loud advertising on centre court of the Australian Open," saying it is a "commercial reality" in line with other tournaments around the world including the U.S. and French Opens, according to Nick Leys of THE AUSTRALIAN. The adverts, described as "tacky" and "overbearing" by journalists and members of the public, are played on screens between games and when players change sides. They are part of marketing campaigns by major tournament sponsors Kia and IBM. Tennis Australia "has denied the ads are an issue," while Tournament Dir Craig Tiley said that the Australian Open "was one of the last major tournaments to introduce such advertising." Tiley said the adverts had been allowed "on balance" as an addition to sponsors' marketing that would not affect spectators or players. Tiley: "It's a small window to support our partners who are making a significant investment in our sport. We see it as win-win" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/16).

Swedish retail clothing company H&M signed a long-term partnership with world No. 6 tennis player Tomas Berdych. The Czech will work with the H&M design team on a tennis collection to be released at a later date. The partnership will see H&M clothing worn on court by a top-ranking tennis player for the first time (H&M). In N.Y., Anna Molin noted on the WALL STREET JOURNAL's The Source blog H&M said it was turning "a new chapter in the relationship between sport and fashion." While such claims "sound a bit bombastic, H&M does have a point." Traditional sportswear giants are "facing increasing competition from fast-fashion retailers looking to tap into a growing emphasis among men and women on staying fit." U.K.-based Planet Retail analyst Isabel Cavill said that companies such as Puma and Nike "should take notice of these new contenders." Cavill: "If fast-fashion brands start getting used to being on show at big sporting events, and given the fact that they offer these clothes much cheaper, it will be an issue. It’s an interesting development because basically they are trying to eat into the shares of the big athletic brands" (WSJ, 1/15).

ManU announced a pair of three-year sponsorship deals with companies based in China: soft drink manufacturer Wahaha and China Construction Bank. The deals are ManU’s first-ever in the soft drink and financial services categories. Wahaha, the largest beverage producer in China over the last 11 years, will be designated as the club’s official soft drink partner in China. CCB received exclusive rights to produce the club’s branded credit card in Mainland China, where it will be offered to the bank’s 102 million customers. Since '75, ManU has visited China 11 times to play friendly matches, including a trip last August (Chris Botta, SportsBusiness Journel). REUTERS' Keith Weir wrote that the deal underlies "the global appeal of English football." ManU claims "more than 100 million followers in China" (REUTERS, 1/15). In London, Roger Blitz wrote the deals come "ahead of crucial Premier League talks on cost control, which could see the club's ability to generate substantial revenues earn a decisive advantage over rivals." New ManU sponsorship deals "are being announced frequently as the club pushes to exploit its global brand recognition." But just as significant is the need to "boost revenues to help the club compete in the new era of financial control in European football" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/15).

Puma has agreed to a partnership with the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, South Africa 2013 to become the official fan supplier. The partnership will see the first merchandise developed and distributed before the first fixture between South Africa and Cape Verde on Jan. 19 and will continue throughout the tournament. As the official fan supplier, Puma has the exclusive worldwide rights to develop and distribute sport and sport-lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories carrying the logos of the tournament. In addition, the deal with Confederation of African Football also includes exclusive rights for Puma to operate retail stores, vending stands and kiosks including those in the stadium, for the sale of Puma’s Africa Cup of Nations official fan merchandise. Puma has partnered with Totalsports to execute the retail side of the operation in South Africa during the tournament. Totalsports will operate and manage the official fanshops during the tournament and will also be the exclusive distributor of Puma’s official fan merchandise (AFCON 2013). Samsung, an official sponsor, has launched its ''Samsung Fan Zone'' in seven African countries under the theme, ''Our Passion Powers Africa.'' Samsung Fan Zones are at the core of the company’s fan engagement program this year. In addition to South Africa, there will be fan zones in Angola, Ivory Coast, DRC, Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia. Samsung will leverage its 20 brand stores and eight shopping malls for more fans to experience interactive activities (Samsung).

Carlsberg brewery has signed a three-year contract to replace Budweiser as the official beer of the Premier League through '16. The partnership will see Carlsberg receive use of official designations, match-day access and hospitality and content for online and social media channels (Carlsberg). ... The Lotus F1 Team "has agreed to a partnership with British clothing manufacturer Henri-Lloyd." The company "will supply Lotus employees with its product and create a team clothing line for fans." The new partnership "will be expanded over the next several years as Henri-Lloyd tries to tap into new markets with Lotus" (MOTORSPORT TOTAL, 1/14). ... The jerseys of all 36 Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga teams "will feature the logo of German logistics company Hermes on their sleeves" starting with the second half of the '12-13 season, as well as on the substitution boards and the ball boys. The contract between Hermes and the German Football League (DFL) "runs for four-and-a-half years and is estimated to bring in" €8M ($10.7M) annually. In addition, Hermes Europe CEO Hanjo Schneider revealed that the official Bundesliga trophy (Meisterschale) "is going on a fan tour through Germany's biggest football cities such as Berlin, Dortmund, Munich and Hamburg" (DIE WELT, 1/15). ... Scottish whisky Glenmorangie has expanded World Hall of Fame golfer Tony Jacklin's role from British to worldwide ambassador. Jacklin will make guest appearance at events throughout the U.S. and continue to work closely with the brand on several initiatives (Glenmorangie). ... The Dubai government will sponsor the Chinese national table tennis team as part of its efforts to continue to "further growth opportunities" between Dubai and China. The partnership, which will see Dubai’s name on the team’s official clothing, will give the emirate a global presence, with more than 100 million people in China "estimated to watch the final of the World Championships every year" (EMIRATES 24/7, 1/14).