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Volume 6 No. 214

Marketing and Sponsorship

The Bundesliga has made a push into new markets over the past several years in order to increase its int'l revenue and close the gap with other European football leagues. So far, the league has focused its efforts on Eastern Europe and Asia. The German Football League (DFL), the commercial arm of the Bundesliga, generated €72M in int'l revenue during the ’11-12 season. Despite a steady growth, the Bundesliga is still far behind other European top leagues in the int'l revenue department. The Bundesliga ranked fourth behind Serie A (€90M), La Liga (€180M) and the Premier League (€500). DFL Head of Business & Specialist Media Dirk Meyer-Bosse explained the EPL’s top position through its decades-long advantage. Meyer-Bosse said, "The English Premier League has a 20-year advantage in that area. The Premier League has simply very early on focused on international marketing and thereby created an edge, which is very difficult to catch up with." To close the gap to the leading leagues and increase the Bundesliga’s level of awareness beyond the borders of Germany, the DFL has opened a foreign office in Singapore and launched language-specific websites during the last year. Meyer-Bosse said, "The Asian-Pacific representation, which is headed by Peter Leible, aims at further establishing the Bundesliga brand in the Asian region." He added: "After six months on the ground in Singapore, the preliminary results are very positive." In addition, the DFL has launched two language-specific websites for Poland and Japan, which have their own independent editorial teams and try to cater to the interests of the Polish and Japanese Bundesliga fans. Meyer-Bosse said, "The reason we decided on those two markets, Poland and Japan, is the fact that those two countries have a very high interest in the Bundesliga. The goal is to increase the league’s worldwide awareness and, maybe even more important, inform and introduce fans in the respective countries more closely to our product." Another aspect of such geographically targeted measurements is the acquisition of licensing partners in the respective areas. The Bundesliga may have missed the start in the fight for int'l revenue, but is trying to reduce its deficit through strategically targeted measurements. The success proves that the league is on the right track, within the last seven years the Bundesliga has managed to increase its int'l revenue from €12M to €72M.

New Zealand's rugby referees "will be stepping out in pink this year" due to a three-year sponsorship deal the New Zealand Rugby Union announced Monday, according to TVNZ. Insulation company Pink Batts will sponsor New Zealand's referees for the Investec Super Rugby, ITM Cup and renamed Pink Batts Heartland Championship. The "new pink strip will makes a debut next weekend" in round two of Super Rugby when the Highlanders host reigning champions, the Chiefs in Dunedin and the Hurricanes host the Blues in Wellington. The uniform will carry the catch-line "Another Good Call." The Heartland Championship has not had a title sponsor "for some years." NZRU CEO Steve Tew said the new agreement "will certainly help the profile of what is an important tier in our domestic competitions" (TVNZ, 2/11).

The German Football Federation (DFB) and the German Red Cross "have agreed to a new partnership in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the humanitarian organization." The partnership will "focus on the issue of first aid in sports." The German women's national team "will contribute to the cause by participating at several Red Cross events" (SID, 2/11). ... German fourth-tier football club Carl Zeiss Jena has signed a new title sponsorship deal with solar energy company Walter. The deal, which runs until the end of the season, will see the company's logo featured on the team's jerseys. In addition, Walter will also receive ad space on boards in camera view and on the scoreboard at the Ernst-Abbe stadium (FC Carl Zeiss Jena). ... Provexis' Science in Sport has unveiled cyclist Chris Hoy as its latest signing (SIS). ... Skoda U.K. has signed a three-year sponsorship deal, which will see it become the official car of the Prudential RideLondon cycling festival. The inaugural festival is set to take place on Aug. 3-4 (Prudential RideLondon).

ON THE GREEN: Dutch golfer Daan Huizing has signed with IMG for worldwide management and marketing representation (IMG). ... Irish golfer Padraig Harrington has signed a long-term partnership with Clune Construction. The official pairing of Clune and Harrington emerged from an interim branding arrangement last year when Clune helped in the raising of funds for the Padraig Harrington Charitable Foundation (Clune Construction).