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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

ManU has signed a new sponsor for its training kit for the next eight years, the latest "in a series of commercial deals cashing in on its huge global following," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. The club is unusual in that its image is "strong enough to attract backers" for both its training kit and the famous red shirts it plays in. The club "called an early halt" to its existing agreement with training kit partner DHL after July's record $560M deal to have the Chevrolet brand on its playing shirts for seven years showed the club "it could aim higher." The training kit deal will run for eight years starting next season, but the club was "surprisingly coy about identifying the new backer at this stage." ManU Vice Chair Ed Woodward said, "At the request of our new training kit partner, we have agreed to withhold further details pending a formal announcement" (REUTERS, 2/14).

Indonesia’s badminton administrators have signed six new sponsors in deals totaling Rp 33.2B ($3.4M), "allowing companies to sponsor individual athletes and coaches," for the first time, according to Ami Afriatni of the JAKARTA GLOBE. The deals are with apparel producers Victor, Li-Ning, Flypower, Astec, Babolat and Reinforced Speed. The Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) is expected to use the funds to support 80 shuttlers and 10 coaching staff. The deals "mark the end of the commercial domination" of Japan’s Yonex, which had been the sole sponsor of the federation for years. PBSI President Gita Wirjawan, the country’s trade minister who assumed the sporting role last September, initiated the broadening of sponsorship deals and the "decision to allow the sponsorship of individual athletes and coaches." PBSI Head of Finance and Promotion Anton Subowo said, "PBSI sees the athletes and coaches’ welfare as the most important thing to start the country’s badminton revitalization." Sponsors "appeared to welcome the new scheme and were eager to sign both athletes and coaching staff." Deals offered to some of the 80 players exceeded Rp 1B ($103,000) a year in some cases, while the lowest offer was Rp 25M ($2,600). Mixed doubles pair Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, men's singles player Riyanto Subagja and men's doubles player Rendy Sugiarto were among two dozen players who signed with Victor. Chinese brand Li-Ning, which signed nine athletes, including badminton players Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Simon Santoso, also "welcomed the new sponsorship scheme" (JAKARTA GLOBE, 2/14).

Adidas hosted the global launch of Energy Boost, its latest running shoe technology, at a press conference at the Javits Center in N.Y. Boost features new cushioning material created by adidas partner BASF, a chemical company. The new sneakers will be available worldwide through e-commerce, select retailers and adidas Sports Performance stores. Adidas America President Patrick Nilsson said, “The key to our marketing plan is to make sure that people try this product on. We believe that once you try it on, it’s going to be sold. It’s a transformational product.” Nilsson declined to comment on the marketing budget for Energy Boost promotion in America. Nilsson: “It will be seen and it will be known by the right people” (Christopher Botta, SportsBusiness Journal).

BLAKE GETS NEW KICKS: In London, Jamie Gordon reported sprinter Yohan Blake will be "aided in his pursuit" of fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt's 100m record by a new range of the "springy running shoes" designed by adidas. Blake will benefit from thousands of air capsules that make the shoes "twice as bouncy as conventional trainers." The shoes have been compared to the "controversial full-body swimsuits, outlawed after swimmers smashed a series of world records in the pool." Adidas said that the secret to its product's success is that energy is returned to the athlete "due to the cushioning provided by the air capsules in the midsole." Blake said, "An added boost of energy is what allows you to push yourself ahead of everyone else to cross that finish line first, especially in a sprint when every millisecond counts" (DAILY MAIL, 2/14).

Motorcycle manufacturer Hero MotoCorp "pulled out" of its Indian Premier League sponsorship on Tuesday, according to Sanjeeb Mukherjea of CNN-IBN. Hero MotoCorp "was a team sponsor" for Delhi Daredevils for the first three seasons and then of Mumbai Indians for seasons four and five. The group "has also sponsored" the World Cup and Champions Trophy in the past. In a statement, Hero said, "Our decision not to renew our central contract with IPL and with IPL team Mumbai Indians does not in any way dilute our commitment to cricket as a sport. It is the most popular game in the country, and we will continue to remain associated with the game in various forms." Hero "is the second sponsor to move out of the high-profile league" in the last few months. Real estate company DLF "quit the league as title sponsor last year." Pepsi later replaced DLF as title sponsor. Hero signed a four-year deal with the Int'l Hockey Federation to sponsor all events held in India the next four years (CNN-IBN, 2/13).

Nike and the NBA have been named as two of the world's "most innovative companies in sports," according to FAST COMPANY. Nike was ranked first for "changing the game with FuelBand and Flyknit footwear." The NBA was ranked second for its "slam-dunk strategy to draw fans to its digital products." Among its achievements are 3.6 billion video views at last season. The remaining companies in the top, in order, are sports pricing firm Qcue, UFC, anti-gravity treadmill AlterG, French equipment company Babolat, GE Healthcare, strength and conditioning brand CrossFit, video-indexing statistical engine Synergy Sports and mobile casino gaming firm Cantor Gaming (FAST COMPANY, 2/11).

Ligue 1 club Stades Rennais has agreed to a three-year extension on its jersey sponsorship with employment services company Samsic Group. The company has sponsored the club for the past nine seasons (Stade Rennais). ... German logistics company Deutsche Post has extended its partnership with BMW Motorsport for the '13 German Touring Car Championship (DTM) season. Former F1 driver Timo Glock will steer the bright yellow Deutsche Post BMW M3 for BMW Team MTEK in '13 (Deutsche Post). ... Olympic triathlete Simon Whitfield, who participated in four Olympic Games, has signed a sponsorship deal with American Bicycle Group for the next three years (ABG). … Logistics company DHL has renewed its title sponsorship of South African-based Western Province Rugby Football Union for a further three years, beginning in ‘14, a year before the agreement was due for re-negotiation. The multi-million rand contract was signed because DHL saw a significant return on investment from its previous deal (WP Rugby). … The Tommy Hilfiger Group will be supporting Team England at the Ladies Golf Cup World Final later this month. Team England players will wear Tommy Hilfiger Golf apparel from the SS13 collection (England Golf).