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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

Andy Murray's management team, XIX Entertainment, has "announced an intriguing new partnership" with Indian tennis standout Mahesh Bhupathi's management company, Globosport, to "explore business opportunities in China and India," according to Kevin Mitchell of the London GUARDIAN. Murray "is the first signing of XIX Globosport," a company XIX Founder Simon Fuller has formed with Bhupathi. They said in a joint statement they are exploring "the burgeoning sports and entertainment opportunities in India and the Middle East." The "impetus has come from Fuller, who recently did a major deal with IMG for David Beckham in China." Bhupathi said, "He has a vision for this part of the world and we are excited that he has chosen to partner us." Bhupathi "set tennis buzzing this week when it was confirmed he is chasing the signatures of the world's leading players" to take part in an Indian Premier League-style tennis tournament across Asia over three weeks in the Nov.-Dec. break at the end of the year. Murray "is at the heart of those plans" -- although, if his playing schedule grows, he "might now be even further away from playing in the Davis Cup for his country" (GUARDIAN, 4/4).

DOUBLE TEAM: In London, Paul Newman reported as part of the new deal Murray "will also team up with Ugo Colombini, a former player and highly experienced agent who has worked closely with Juan Martin del Potro." Bhupathi's company "will provide expertise in the expanding Asian markets." Colombini "will bring more tennis specialist expertise to Murray's management team." Murray said in a statement: "I believe a mix of Simon's experience and Mahesh's understanding of the sport will create the perfect team for my off-court interests and will allow me to continue to dedicate myself and focus on my goals on the court" (INDEPENDENT, 4/4). The AFP reported Murray's commercial activities have been managed by Fuller's XIX Entertainment since '07. Bhupathi launched media and entertainment company GloboSport in '02 (AFP, 4/4).

Samsung has “opted not to renew its deal” with the Int'l Association of Athletics Federation’s Diamond League “for the forthcoming season, leaving the world governing body with precious little time to find a replacement before action gets underway,” according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Samsung has sponsored the track & field series "for three years since its inception in 2010.” The title sponsorship deal is “believed to have been worth” around $4.5M a year to the IAAF, which has been “forced to make financial cutbacks in recent years to weather the global economic crisis.” Still, the IAAF insisted that the series “would not be affected by Samsung’s departure and that it would make up any shortfall in the budget from its own reserves until another commercial partner was found.” Samsung’s decision is “a blow to the sport so soon after it enjoyed spectacular exposure at the London Olympics.” One of the problems Samsung has faced is that “many of the meetings have their own individual title sponsors who enjoy greater projection locally than the series sponsor” (TELEGRAPH, 4/3).

U.S. food vendor Centerplate, an event hospitality partner at North American sports stadiums, entertainment venues and convention centers, has merged with U.K. hospitality-services provider The Lindley Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Jointly, the new company will continue to provide food, beverage and merchandise services to more than 115 million guests annually in North America and the U.K. and is anticipated to exceed $1B in sales in '13. The Lindley Group CEO Adam Elliott will assume the title of president of The Lindley Group and Centerplate exec VP, reporting to Centerplate President & CEO Des Hague (Centerplate).

Mobile phone producer HTC, which recently signed a sponsorship deal with the UEFA Champions League, "agreed to a partnership with Sky Deutschland," according to Manuel Weis of QUOTENMETER. Sky's ad agency Sky Media Network revealed Wednesday the "goal of the partnership is the activation of HTC's 'One Magic Moment' campaign during live broadcasts on Sky." According to the pay-TV network, an HTC smartphone "will interactively appear in the middle of game highlights and an animated finger will take a digital photo of the previously watched game scene" (QUOTENMETER, 4/3).

The Int'l Skating Union "will lose its main sponsor for speed skating, Dutch energy company Essent, after the 2014 Sochi Winter Games," according to the SID. Essent revealed Wednesday that "it will not extend its sponsorship deal with the organization, which is set to expire in March." Essent, a subsidiary of Germany-based energy company RWE, has been a sponsor of the Speed Skating World Cup as well as European and World Championships since '98 and transferred more than €2M ($2.6M) annually to the ISU (SID, 4/3). will launch a trading card collection featuring Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi on April 12. Each pack of cards costs £0.75 ($1.14) and will contain five glossy picture cards of Messi, with a total of 104 cards in the collection. The cards will also give fans a chance to win shirts, photos and signed memorabilia from Messi ( ... Hyatt Hotels has reached a partnership to support "Messi and Friends vs. the World 2013," a football exhibition in Chicago held in July (Hyatt). ... The German Handball Federation (DHB) has extended its title sponsorship deal with online electronics and appliance store for another four years. The deal was brokered by sports marketing agency SPORTFIVE (DHB). ... The German Rugby Federation (DRV) has acquired Italy-based sportswear company Errea as its offical kit provider until '16. The deal was brokered between DRV's marketing agency SportsWork and Errea's German sales partner Sport-Textildruck Vertriebs GmbH (DRV).