Scottish Third Division club Rangers have "agreed to sell their stadium naming rights to sports retailer Sports Direct," according to STV. Rangers CEO Charles Green said that the deal "would be finalised in the coming weeks, with artist’s impressions of how Ibrox would look under the changes expected to be released on the club website." Sports Direct majority shareholder Mike Ashley owns a stake in Rangers Int'l Football Club, while his firm has "entered into a joint venture as the club’s official merchandising supplier." Green: "We have now decided that Sports Direct will be the partner (for stadium naming). We had representatives from Sports Direct up for a fans’ forum a couple of weeks ago. We also had Derek Llambias of Newcastle United sharing his experience of how that helped his club (STV, 3/4). In London, Ewan Murray reported that Green believes Rangers supporters are "more relaxed over the issue than before." Ashley has experience of renaming a stadium at Newcastle. There, "fans were bitter in their complaints about St James' Park being titled the Sports Direct Arena." It has "since been returned to the original name" (GUARDIAN, 3/4).
Marketing and Sponsorship
As part of its partnership agreement with DirecTV, La Liga club Atletico Madrid will make a trip to South America during the last week of July and the first week of August, according to the EFE. The team will play three friendlies against South American teams. Atletico Madrid President Enrique Cerezo said, "As part of this partnership, DirecTV will organize a South America tour for the 2013 preseason for Atletico Madrid." Cerezo added that the team will play games in three different South American cities which "will be revealed shortly." It is likely the games will be played in Argentina, Uruguay and Chile (EFE, 3/4).
FC Barcelona announced Qatar Airways will become the team's jersey sponsor from July 1 through June '16. It will mark the first commercial deal on the Barcelona jersey. The deal is for six years and €170M ($221M) (MARCA, 3/4). ... Brazilian football club Portuguesa has agreed to a partnership with Volkswagen. As part of the agreement, the auto manufacturer will provide the club with a new bus (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 3/3). ... Bundesliga Basketball (BBL) club Ratiopharm Ulm "has extended its sponsorship deal with motor oil company Liqui Moly for another year." Liqui Moly "will increase its involvement in the club." However, both parties "did not release any further details on the extension" (SÜDWEST PRESSE, 3/2). ... Eurosport Group and RCS Sport have lengthened their existing partnership for an additional four years, "with extended and upgraded live production and broadcasting in HD." IMG Media brokered the terms of the deal, which "includes all 70 territories covered by Eurosport in Europe and Asia-Pacific region" and involves '13-16 TV and digital rights for the Giro d'Italia as well as five other major Italian cycling races: Milan - Sanremo, the Giro di Lombardia, Tirreno-Adriatico, Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima (RAPID TV NEWS, 3/4). ... Asia Racing Team and Team BetterLife has "agreed to extend the partnership" into '13. Team BetterLife is the racing arm of BetterLife Group (ISPORTCONNECT, 3/3). ... Office furniture manufacturer PALMBERG + Service GmbH has extended its contract with Infront Sports & Media, marketing partner to third division Football Club Hansa Rostock, ahead of time and the company will receive comprehensive advertising space in the DKB-Arena (Infront). ... Opel is the new main club sponsors of Dutch Eredivisie club Feyenoord. A four year agreement has been reached for the Opel logo "to be carried on Feyenoord shirts from 2013-17." The partnership "signals an extension of a long-running relationship which dates back almost 30 years to when Opel was main club sponsor from 1984-89" (ISPORTCONNECT, 3/4).