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Volume 10 No. 22

Marketing and Sponsorship

Standard Life Investments "has agreed to be the Ryder Cup’s initial worldwide partner," according to Michael Smith of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The Edinburgh, Scotland-based investment house becomes the first company to acquire rights to Ryder Cups on both sides of the Atlantic. Until the PGA of America and the European Tour initiated a drive to find global sponsors, companies could not hold Ryder Cup rights in both Europe and the U.S. The four-year deal starts this year before the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland, and includes rights in '15-16 to the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in Chaska, Minn. Terms of the deal "were not available, but industry sources said that such a global sponsorship was being shopped for high seven figures annually." The global deals are being sold in two-year increments so the partner has a full year lead-in to promote the event. The PGA of America and European Tour hope to have "as many as four worldwide partners for the 2014 Ryder Cup." European Tour Sales Dir Tim Shaw said, "The first one is always the biggest hurdle to overcome. Now we’ve got a blueprint and we hope it will lead to additional global partners coming on board.” Standard Life’s worldwide partnership "will be rolled into two separate contracts," one with the European Tour and another with the PGA of America.

FINDING COMMON GROUND: The European Tour oversees commercial operations of the Ryder Cup when it’s in Europe, while the PGA manages Ryder Cup business when it’s in the U.S. PGA Chief Business Officer Kevin Carter said, "The PGA and the European Tour have been operating under two different business models for a long time, and that’s why it’s taken a while to find a solution. We’ve worked very closely with the European Tour to find a way for Standard Life to have the ability to market here in the U.S. and abroad, and we’ve got something now that elevates the Ryder Cup to a truly global platform, as it relates to sponsorship and marketing.” But after seven months of talks, Standard Life emerged with many of the same hospitality, promotional and on-course rights as Team Europe sponsors in 2014, except that Standard Life will be the only one to call itself a worldwide partner with unique marks in its advertising. Another difference is that 2014 Team Europe partners BMW, Diageo, Ernst & Young and Rolex "will have no rights for the 2016 Ryder Cup in the U.S., whereas Standard Life will again have full partner rights domestically and internationally"(SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/25 issue).

A list compiled by Superbrands revealed premium watchmaker Rolex has been voted the U.K.'s No. 1 consumer brand for the second year running, according to Ben Bold of MARKETING MAGAZINE. Rolex becomes the first brand in six years to "retain first position in consecutive surveys." The company was voted the winner by a sample of nearly 3,000 consumers, a process overseen by an expert council that included Marketing Magazine's head of features Nicola Kemp. The luxury watchmaker shares the list "with an array of premium and prosaic brands." Troubled airline British Airways "clearly still resonates with consumers and was up from 33rd last year to fourth place in this year's ranking." It is followed by Coca-Cola (fifth), while Google and hotel group Hilton trailed in sixth and seventh. Superbrands expert council Chair Stephen Cheliotis said, "As consumers remain unsettled and fearful over what feels like endless economic doom and gloom, malpractice in key institutions and a weakening position for Britain in a changing world, it is perhaps no surprise that we are turning to reassuringly familiar brands that we have know throughout our lives" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 2/25). In the sports arena, Rolex sponsors the Wimbledon Championships, the Open Championship, the Australian Open, among others. The company also has sponsorship deals with athletes including Roger Federer, Phil Mickelson, Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki (Rolex).

Coca-Cola has extended its 45-year sponsorship deal with Bayern Munich by another three years, "underlining the financial health of the German club," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. No financial details of the agreement were released but the deal will further aid the club, which is "expecting another bumper financial year" after posting its best financial results in 112 years with a profit of €11.1M ($14.6M) for the '11-12 fiscal year. The German champions and four-time European Cup winners "boosted their turnover by more than" €40M, up from €290.9M for '10-11 (REUTERS, 2/25).

Former Asian Football Confederation Champions League winners Al Ain has "roped in Khalifa Port as official sponsors" during its campaign in the AFC Champions League this year, according to Satya Narayan of GULF NEWS. The deal will mean the defending UAE Pro-League champions "will sport the logo of the Abu Dhabi Ports Company, represented by Khalifa Port." Al Ain Football Club Chair Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Bin Khalid Al Nahyan said that the deal "was only for Al Ain’s AFC Champions League matches" (GULF NEWS, 2/25). Meanwhile, Al Ain rival Al Jazira Sports Club has signed a three-year deal with Etihad Rail. Etihad Rail will become the club's strategic sponsor for the next three years and will have branding placement rights at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium and on team jerseys, among other marketing benefits (THE NATIONAL, 2/25).

Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund has signed a new sponsorship deal with green energy company LichtBlick. The club will use the company's green energy brand Stron09 at its stadium, the Signal Iduna Park, its practice facility and its administrative building (LichtBlick). ... Handball company Kempa "will become the new official outfitter" of the German Handball Federation (DHB). The new five-year deal will take effect on July 1. Kempa, which was the DHB's official outfitter from '02-07, will replace adidas (DHB). ... German Handball Bundesliga (HBL) club MT Melsungen signed a new premium sponsorship deal with online electronics price engine The company will be featured on the front of the team's jersey and receive ad space on the LED board at the Rothenbach-Halle (MT Melsungen). ... The Santa Catarina state government has agreed to sponsor the WTA Brasil Tennis Cup tournament. The event is taking place this week in Florianopolis (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 2/22). ... The Rugby League World Cup 2013 announced Hertz as the official vehicle hire supplier of the Rugby League World Cup 2013 (RLWC2013).