Millions of dollars in revenue for Australia's major sporting codes are at risk as sponsors "seek reassurances from sports' governing bodies about allegations of widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs and links to organised crime," according to White & Bingemann of THE AUSTRALIAN. On Thursday, sponsors were "demanding briefings from the governing bodies," including the Australian Football League, the National Rugby League and Cricket Australia about the issue and how the codes planned to respond. Sport sponsorship is "estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars a year" with companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Telstra, Optus, CUB and Coca-Cola paying to put their brands in front of millions of TV viewers and live spectators. Football Federation Australia naming-rights sponsor Hyundai condemned the use of drugs in sport and said that the responsibility for fixing the problem "lay with the sporting bodies." Wesfarmers CEO Richard Goyder, an AFL commissioner and former board member of Fremantle football club, said that his companies Coles and Bunnings retailers, which are official partner sponsors of the AFL, "would monitor developments" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/8).
DEALS IN JEOPARDY: In Sydney, McCullough & Barton reported the NRL's A$100M ($103M) sponsorship deal with Telstra "could be in jeopardy" if the Australian Crime Commission report results in adverse publicity for the code. Telstra has been the naming-rights sponsor for the NRL since '01, and "renewed the deal for another five years in December." Telstra CEO David Thodey said, "Our brand image is tied up with those who we sponsor, so if there is untoward behaviour that we don't agree with, we would make our position very clear. We will always do that" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 2/8). Also in Sydney, Bingemann reported if the "wrongdoing is found to be as widespread as the ACC suggests," Telstra sporting sponsorships worth millions of dollars "could be in jeopardy" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/7). In Melbourne, McKenzie & Baker reported a former supplier of nutritional supplements to the Fremantle FC "has been prosecuted and fined" A$3.1M for unlawfully importing unregistered substances. The company is the parent of sports nutrition business Nutrition Systems. Its sole director "is Perth fitness identity Danny Pavlovich" (THE AGE, 2/8).
Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain player David Beckham “appears in a new short, filmed by Guy Ritchie in Los Angeles to promote the latest collection of David Beckham bodywear at H&M,” according to the AFP. The 1:40 short “starts with Beckham waving off his family" on a sunny L.A. morning, then “losing his bathrobe which remains trapped in the door of the family Range Rover.” Beckham’s dilemma is “compounded as the front door shuts behind him, locking him out of the house as the car speeds away.” The spot has him “running through backyards, disrupting tennis games, soccer practices” as he “sprints to catch up with the car.” Beckham “swims the length of a pool,” and the spot ends “as a tourist bus of dazed celebrity spotters pulls up.” Beckham then "tweaks his boxers and is off in a flash!” (AFP, 2/6). WhatsTrending.com’s Shira Lazar said, “Did they really need to spend Guy Ritchie money on directing that film because my mom could have shot that on her flip phone and he still would have looked amazing.” Lazar said the ad "worked." HLN’s A.J. Hammer said maybe Beckham “could go into real film and be the next big Hollywood action hero” (“Showbiz Tonight,” HLN, 2/6). In London, Rob Williams reported Internet speculation, driven by images on the shoot for the H&M advert, has suggested that Beckham "may have used a 'botty double'" -- a body double for his bottom. Speculation that Beckham "may have used a double comes from a shot of Beckham from behind in which tattoos on his right arm disappear and his shoulders appear to have become broader" (INDEPENDENT, 2/7).
Gatorade "will stay on as sponsor" of the Copa Libertadores in '13 for a fourth consecutive season, according to MAQUINA DO ESPORTE. The company will have its logo on the reserve benches for all the games of the competition. Gatorade is also a sponsor of the Brazilian men's national football team, and more than 40 Brazilian clubs including Corinthians, Fluminense, Palmeiras, Grêmio, Atlético-MG and São Paulo (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 2/6).
MORE DEALS: MAQUINA DO ESPORTE's Rodolfo Gomes reported Brasileiro club Portuguesa "is very close" to closing a sponsorship deal with electronics company Steck (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 2/6). ... MAQUINA DO ESPORTE also reported marketing agency BR Sports has signed Brasileiro Santos player Bruno Peres. The agency will "manage the image of the player as well as his relationship with sponsors and fans" (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 2/6).
The Hong Kong FA "hopes to secure" HK$20M ($2.6M) in sponsorship from "global corporations" as part of its plans for a proposed new Premier League, according to Chan Kin-wa of SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. HKFA Vice-Chair Steven Lo Kit-sing said on Wednesday that "discussions were ongoing with more than one firm." Lo said, "These are not small companies but global corporations that have a strong financial background." He added, "The new money could be used as prize money for the league and cup competitions, and if everything works out, we may also be able to give subsidies to clubs to strengthen their management, sports science support as well as youth and senior squad training." HKFA CEO Mark Sutcliffe admitted that "greater sponsorship is vital with most clubs finding it difficult to generate sufficient revenue." Sutcliffe said, "The association is acutely aware of the need to generate more resources for the teams and this will be particularly important in the future as we move towards a new Premier League." The HKFA's strategic plan will see next season serve as "a transition year" before the new league begins in the fall of '14. There will be 12 teams rather than 10 (SCMP, 2/7).
One of "the first commercial effects" of David Beckham's signing with Ligue 1 club Paris St. Germain could be a partnership with nutritional company Herbalife, according to Arnaud Hermant of LE PARISIEN. The American company, which counts Barcelona striker Lionel Messi among its brand ambassadors, is the main jersey sponsor of Beckham's former team the Major League Soccer L.A. Galaxy. Even before Beckham's signing, PSG's management "was already negotiating with the American management of Herbalife." However, Herbalife France spokesperson Jean-Christophe Danchaud said that "he was unaware of such negotiations" and declined to comment on the report (LE PARISIEN, 2/7).
The German Football Federation (DFB) "has extended its hospitality contract with guest management company Zächel AG for another five years." The Berlin-based company "received the mandate from the federation and will therefore continue its about ten-year partnership with the DFB." The mandate "includes guest assistance at men's and women's national team games as well as at Cup finals" (NEW BUSINESS, 2/7). ... The 5th Verivox.de FIS-Team-Tour ski jumping competition has signed a new main sponsorship deal with beauty and health products company Allgäuer Latschenkiefer. The company will be featured on boards in the landing area at all three events (FIS-Team-Tour). ... F1 team Caterham has agreed to a new partnership deal with Dutch fashion company McGregor. The company's logo will be featured on the team's racecar and across all of the Caterham F1 Team's branding platforms (Caterham). ... Mouton Cadet will become the official supplier to the KLM Open and the Deloitte Ladies Open. For the next three years, Mouton Cadet will be the exclusive wine available at the Deloitte Ladies Open in May and in September at the KLM Open (European Tour).
HANDBALL DEALS: Handball Bundesliga (HBL) club HSG Wetzlar has signed a new shirt sponsorship deal with print company Druckerei E. Sauerland until the end of the season. The company's logo will be feature on the back of the club's jerseys (HSG Wetzlar). ... Infront Sports & Media has signed a collaboration agreement with the French National Handball League (LNH). Infront France, the Group’s French subsidiary, will support the LNH in the commercialization of its premium marketing rights for the "D1 Masculine" (the top-tier handball league), the "Coupe de la Ligue" (the French league cup competition) and the "Trophée des Champions" (French super cup) on a non-exclusive basis (Infront).