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Volume 10 No. 25

Marketing and Sponsorship

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "is expected to seal a sponsorship deal for Formula One with Emirates Airlines" in Dubai on Tuesday worth about $200M, according to Kerr & Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Ecclestone is understood to have convinced Emirates to sign a five-year deal that in terms of size "would make it one of the biggest in motorsport." Gulf states have been big sponsors of F1 over the past few years but Dubai entities "have been largely absent from F1." Emirates is expected to be a title sponsor of F1, joining a clutch of other companies, including UBS, Rolex, Pirelli, Tata Communications and LG. It is understood that under the terms of the agreement "its livery will not be on display at the Abu Dhabi and Bahrain Grand Prix." Emirates declined to comment. Ecclestone could not be reached for comment (FINANCIAL TIMES. 2/5).

German airline Air Berlin "will not extend any of its sports sponsorship deals as it is in financial trouble," according to Hoffmann, Bardow & Dach of DER TAGESSPIEGEL. Air Berlin "will withdraw from its sponsorship deals with Bundesliga club Fortuna Dusseldorf, 2nd Bundesliga side Hertha BSC and Handball Bundesliga (HBL) club Füchse Berlin." The airline "will not extend its deals with the teams," which are due to expire in the summer, in order "to reduce company expenditures." Air Berlin has already informed its partners about its decision. The company said that an extension "is due to extensive cost cutting measurements currently not justifiable." The airline has been a partner of both football clubs since '05 and of the HBL club since '10. Füchse Berlin Managing Dir Bob Hanning said, "This is extremely painful. However, it won't be a problem for us" (DER TAGESSPIEGEL, 2/1).

Brasileiro Fluminense midfielder Deco "has become the latest athlete to be sponsored by Nike," according to MAQUINA DO ESPORTE. The length and terms of the contract "were not disclosed." The former Portuguese int'l and Barcelona midfielder will begin wearing shoes made by the company. He will join fellow Brasileiro players Neymar, Paulo Henrique Ganso, Paulinho and Alexandre Pato who are also ambassadors of the brand. Deco said, "I have played with Nike shoes in the past, and I am very happy to be sponsored by the brand again, which is a global reference" (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 2/4).

Swiss watchmaker Omega VP & Int'l Sales Dir Raynald Aeschlimann "has expressed confidence" in extending the brand's five-year title sponsorship of the Dubai Desert Classic and Ladies Masters golf tournament when it expires next year, according to Ashley Hammond of GULF NEWS. Aeschlimann said that the "deal's continuity was important" for Omega, which is owned by The Swatch Group. Omega is "heavily associated with swimming and sailing," and is the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games and the PGA Tour. With golf set for re-inclusion into the Olympics in '16 after a 112-year hiatus, Aeschlimann suggested that "the firm's sponsorship could continue." Aeschlimann said of the sponsorship deal: "We are talking together [with the relevant parties] and we are looking forward" (GULF NEWS, 2/4).

F1 team Scuderia Ferrari announced that it has reached a sponsorship agreement with Chinese heavy powertrain system and machinery vehicles manufacturer Weichai Power. The agreement will last four years and will expire at the end of the '16 season. Weichai Power is part of the Weichai Group and will be the first Scuderia sponsor to come from China (Ferrari). ... The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced that Yorkshire Tea has signed a commercial agreement to become the official brew of England Cricket. The deal will run through Oct. '15 (ECB). ... U.K. insurance intermediary Bridle Insurance revealed that it will not extend its sponsorship of League Two club Oxford United (Bridle Insurance).