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Volume 6 No. 214

Marketing and Sponsorship

The size of the "shadow” Rory McIlroy has cast over Tiger Woods since the announcement that McIlroy has joined the Nike Golf roster “will be revealed in Abu Dhabi on Sunday should the company’s new signing opt for a red shirt,” according to Kevin Garside of the London INDEPENDENT. Red is the “power colour that Woods made his own during the years of plunder.” Nike issues its clients “four shirts for the week and it is understood that only one player is allowed to make red his Sunday best if Woods is in the field.” But McIlroy “claimed to be ignorant of any stipulation and said that he didn’t care what colour he wore on Sundays.” McIlroy said, “I’ve worn red before. I’m not saying that is the colour I want to play in on the last day. I’d rather just wear something that goes with green” (INDEPENDENT, 1/15). McIlroy occasionally wore red shirts during the final round of tournaments, notably during last year's PGA Championship, which he won by eight strokes (THE DAILY).

NIKE'S LAW: In London, Matthew Syed wrote, "We should probably call it Nike’s Law: the quantity of bulls*** is proportionate to the amount of truth that needs to be concealed. The more obvious the facts, the more bulls*** you need to scatter around to divert everyone’s attention." The law was exemplified in the presentation of McIlroy in Abu Dhabi on Monday as the face of Nike Golf in "one of the most comical press conferences in sporting history." Anyone "with two brain cells understands the Nike business model." The American multinational "produces sportswear and equipment using cheap labour in Asia." Having produced the gear, Nike approaches sportspeople who have "invariably made it to the top without any help from or association with the company and signs them up." It wants people "to see McIlroy using Nike and to infer that McIlroy's brilliance is a consequence of the association." These inferences "are patent nonsense, of course" (LONDON TIMES, 1/16).

British building material supplier Jewson "will not renew" its sponsorship deal with Premiership rugby side Gloucester at the end of the season, according to THIS IS GLOUCESTERSHIRE. Club Managing Dir Stephen Vaughan "is after a new main sponsor for Gloucester Rugby." Jewson has been Gloucester's "main backer for six years." However, now it is withdrawing its sporting sponsorship interests. Gloucester's "robust financial standing is bucking the general trend though." The Cherry and Whites "are expected to confirm a second-successive year of profit when they lodge their accounts." Revealing Gloucester is already "in talks with several companies over a new sponsor for next season," Vaughan explained: "We've had six years with Jewson, which in sport is a very long partnership" (THIS IS GLOUCESTERSHIRE, 1/15).

IOC Marketing Commission Chair Gerhard Heiberg said that the organization is "planning to add a new sponsor" in '13 to replace computer manufacturer Acer, whose contract expired last year, according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. Heiberg said, "The London 2012 Games were an absolute great success both for organisers and for the sponsors, and it makes it easier to talk to companies after London." He said that the new sponsor does not necessarily have to be a computer company, and instead will "reflect the changing electronics trends." Heiberg: "We have plans and we are looking at that (computing) category, and I hope to see the deal within the year." The new sponsor will push the IOC's TOP sponsor program revenues for the period from '13-16 above the $1B mark "for the first time" Heiberg added that the IOC is also "looking to add one more company apart from the electronics partner," but he did not say in which category that will be (REUTERS, 1/16). 

The "expected title sponsorship deal between the Lotus F1 Team and U.S. technology company Honeywell seems to be falling through," according to Rencken & Lüttgens of MOTORSPORT TOTAL. Lotus announced several new sponsorship deals in the past several months. In November, the team "signed a deal with Coca-Cola." The U.S. soft drink producer "will advertise its energy drink brand Burn on the team's cars." At the beginning of the week, Lotus "agreed to a partnership with British clothing manufacturer Henri-Lloyd." However, in the search for a new title sponsorship deal, Team Principal Eric Boullier "has been unable to progress." In the fall of '12 everything indicated that a deal between Lotus and Honeywell "was imminent" after a Honeywell representative "was invited to a Lotus sponsor summit that normally only includes existing partners." However, nobody "has heard anything about a possible deal in several weeks" and when asked whether Lotus will have a new title sponsor this year, Boullier said, "I hope so." A reason for Honeywell to stall the potential deal "could be the team's lack of discretion." The fact that Lotus' negotiations with Honeywell "became an open secret in the F1 circle might have disgruntled the U.S. company" (MOTORSPORT TOTAL, 1/16).

The Swedish FA (SvFF) announced that adidas will be its new kit manufacturer until '19. Adidas is the SvFF's exclusive supplier of materials for both men, women, the youth national teams, as well as of products for the fans (SvFF). ... Sports betting provider Tipico has signed former German national team goaltender Oliver Kahn as its new brand ambassador (Tipico). ... English League Two club Accrington Stanley revealed a full shirt and stadium sponsorship deal with storage company Store First. The three-year deal is worth six-figures and will see the club launch a new away kit in the yellow and blue colors of Store First. The Crown Ground will also be renamed the Store First Stadium (Accrington Stanley). ... Gatorade U.K. has agreed to be the sports nutrition and hydration partner of Proj3kt 3on3, the British Basketball League Foundation's pilot program launched just two months ago in partnership with Sport England. The partnership will see all the athletes hydrated with Gatorade (Gatorade U.K.).

DEALS IN BRAZIL: Brasileiro club Santos has closed a R$2M ($1M) sponsorship deal with language school Minds Idiomas. The agreement will see Minds Idiomas' logo on the chest of the team's uniform for the next year (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 1/15). ... Beer brand Itaipava will be the new sponsor of the Copa do Brasil in '13. Itaipava will replace beer company Brahma, which did not renew its deal after '12 (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 1/15).