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Volume 6 No. 217

Marketing and Sponsorship

A senior official at Dubai's Emirates Airline said that the airline "is set to sign a shirt sponsorship deal with Real Madrid" worth up to €30M ($39.3M) a year, in the latest high profile sports investment by the Middle East carrier, according to Rory Jones of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The official said that a deal "is expected to be signed in the next three to four weeks and the Emirates logo will appear on the La Liga club's shirts for a duration of between four and six years." Emirates "has an agreement with Real Madrid to advertise on its sign boards at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, as well as some hospitality rights." The airline "is also the shirt sponsor" for EPL side Arsenal, Ligue 1 club Paris St. Germain and Serie A club AC Milan (WSJ, 4/14). In Dubai, Ashley Hammond reported Emirates airline has confirmed that it is "in shirt sponsorship negotiations" with Real Madrid. An airline spokesperson said, "Yes, we confirm that we are talking to Real Madrid about shirt sponsorship, but the contract is not finalized yet" (GULF NEWS, 4/14). MARCA reported the club "will sign an official sponsorship deal with Fly Emirates" on April 30. Real's new deal "is the most expensive in the club's history" (MARCA, 4/12). In Abu Dhabi, Ola Salem reported the sponsorship "will not effect Emirates' deals with other teams" (THE NATIONAL, 4/14).

The Bahrain Grand Prix may be going ahead this weekend, but "will not do so with everyone involved seemingly as happy about it" as F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, according to CRASH. While motorsports governing body FIA "has refused to confirm its stance" on the political situation within the Gulf state, and the teams admitting that "they will go wherever the sport's ringmaster leads them," the multinationals that bankroll F1 do not "appear so comfortable going with the flow." Following "the awkward situation" 12 months ago, sponsors are "scaling back their financial involvement for this one race." Several notable sponsors "have already confirmed that their presence will be significantly reduced, or even invisible, in Bahrain," even to the extent of removing branding from teams, cars and drivers. Others, including McLaren title sponsor Vodafone, "are opting for regional brands instead of their own" (CRASH, 4/13).

Mercedes-Benz and Michael Schumacher announced a long-term partnership, which will extend beyond motorsport and F1. Schumacher will be involved with the development of the Mercedes-Benz safety and comfort systems "Intelligent Drive," and represent them as an ambassador (Mercedes-Benz). ... British F1 driver Max Chilton has hired The Sports PR Company "to handle his worldwide personal PR" (PR WEEK, 4/11). ... Caterham F1 Team reserve driver Alexander Rossi has signed an extension with Alaska Coffee Roasting through '13 (Team Rossi). ... Marussia F1 team has signed a deal with RBC, which was represented on the MR02 car and the racing apparel of its drivers Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton beginning last weekend (Marussia). ... South African golfer Richard Sterne has signed with IMG for worldwide management and marketing representation. Sterne, a six-time winner on the European Tour, is the current leader of the 2013 Race to Dubai and, most recently, winner of the 2013 Joburg Open in his native South Africa (IMG). ... Don Amott has extended his sponsorship at League Championship side Derby County with a new five-year deal described by the club as involving "a significant six-figure sum." The businessman, who owns Don Amott Leisure Parks and is a former Derby County director and Derbyshire County Cricket Club chairman, "will sponsor what is currently known as the Brian Clough Lounge at Pride Park Stadium" (DERBY TELEGRAPH, 4/12). ... The Greek Football Federation "has agreed a new partnership with Nike for the sportswear manufacturer to become the official apparel and equipment supplier for the Greece national team." As part of the deal, Nike "will develop a new kit for the national side, which the players will wear for the first time in the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Lithuania on June 7" (SOCCEREX, 4/12). ... India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan "have been roped in by Lay's" and will be featured in its new campaign this season. Apart from the four cricketers, the campaign "will also feature cricketer-turned-commentator Ravi Shastri, and international umpire Billy Bowden" (PTI, 4/11).