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Volume 6 No. 215

Marketing and Sponsorship

The "star-studded athletics event" that will mark the first anniversary of the London Olympic Opening Ceremony will be known as the "Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games," according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. UK Athletics announced a "major new sponsorship deal" with the supermarket chain on Monday. Sainsbury's will be the title sponsor of all three domestic televised athletics events this summer -- the Birmingham Grand Prix, the British Championships & Trials and the three-day London Anniversary Games. The Birmingham meeting "also incorporates the final" of the Int'l Paralympic Committee Grand Prix Series, while the third day of the Anniversary event will be a one-off int'l Paralympic competition. Collectively, the meetings will be called the "Sainsbury’s Summer Series." Of the three, the Anniversary Games "is the jewel in the crown." The prospect of Usain Bolt and the rest of the world’s top athletes competing in the Olympic Stadium in front of sell-out crowds "will guarantee the company huge brand exposure" (TELEGRAPH, 4/15).

BULKING UP: REUTERS' Keith Weir reported British athletics received "a welcome commercial boost" by Sainsbury's sponsorship. The sport "has been seeking new backers after insurer Aviva ended a 13-year sponsorship at the end of last year, walking away despite the exposure athletics enjoyed during the Olympics in London" (REUTERS, 4/15). The partnership "is part of Sainsbury’s support for the British Athletics Paralympic programme," which has already included £2M ($3M) of funding for schools, clubs and organizations "to nurture the next generation" of Paralympians (RETAIL WEEK, 4/15). MARKETING WEEK's Sebastian Joseph noted the fact the title sponsorship deal ends after the Anniversary Games "means UK Athletics is still looking for long-term partners to help fund its elite abled-bodied programme." The organization "aims to move away from having major backers towards building a portfolio of partners in a bid to strike more deals and maximise revenues" (MARKETING WEEK, 4/15).

Golfer Adam Scott “may have been marketable before” winning The Masters Sunday, but now he is "a sports marketer's dream,” according to Frank Chung of ADNEWS. M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment Sydney Head of PR & Events Jack Lamacraft said, “As the first Australian to win the Masters, he will become a household name virtually overnight.” Lamacraft added that while it was "hard to put a dollar value on Scott, 'whatever he was worth yesterday, he’s worth half as much again, if not double, today.'" Scott has been “notoriously selective in his brand partnerships.” Octagon Managing Dir Sean Nicholls said that this approach has “worked in his favour.” Scott is “currently sponsored by” Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, Titleist and Uniqlo. While a comparison “can be drawn” between Scott's win at The Masters and Aussie cyclist Cadel Evans becoming the first Australian to win the Tour de France in '11, Nicholls and Lamacraft agreed that Scott “would have broader brand appeal than Evans.” Lamacraft: “A lot of brands will want to use him. He’s a golfer but he’s not an old fat guy. He also embraces the Australian lifestyle, is into surfing and so on” (ADNEWS, 4/15). In Australia, John Stensholt noted Scott will “receive bonuses from his sponsors for his Masters win, worth about another” $1M (AUSTRALIA FINANCIAL REVIEW, 4/15).

PERFECT TIMING: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Daisuke Wakabayashi wrote Scott’s victory was “also a big win” for Japan-based clothing brand Uniqlo, which signed Scott as brand ambassador last Tuesday, “just a few days before the Masters began.” Scott will wear Uniqlo “in all competitions and participate in promotions for the company, including the launch of a global polo shirt campaign in mid-April.” The timing “couldn’t be better for Uniqlo, which is trying to build its image outside Japan.” The company “already has athletic-wear sponsorship deals” with tennis players Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori (WSJ, 4/15).

FIRST MOVE: FORBES' Kurt Badenhausen reported Scott "represents Uniqlo’s first move into golf." Tadashi Yanai, president of Fast Retailing, which owns Uniqlo, said: "Given its widespread following worldwide and accessibility regardless of age, golf is a good match for us." Fast Retailing was founded by Yanai, and it is the biggest apparel company in Asia with sales of $11.9B. Nike "is a dominant player in golf and tennis apparel." It "is not sweating Uniqlo, but the brand, still relatively unknown in the U.S., now has the top tennis player in the world and third ranked golfer" (FORBES, 4/15).

Domino's Pizza "has emerged as a rival to B&Q to sponsor the Football League," according to John Reynolds of MARKETING MAGAZINE. The Football League, which encompasses the Championship and Leagues One and Two, "has been in talks with a number of companies after Npower confirmed it would not be renewing" its £21M ($27.5M), three-year deal. Domino's and B&Q "are thought to be the two frontrunners to seal a deal and an announcement is expected in the coming weeks," to begin sponsorship for the '13-14 season. It is unclear if the Football League "has managed to increase the financial terms of the deal" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 4/15).

German Hockey League (DEL) club Cologne Sharks, which currently battles the Eisbären Berlin in the league's final series, has extended its premium partnership with media and telecoms company Unitymedia for the '13-14 season. The deal includes ad space on boards inside the Lanxess Arena as well as on the team's jersey. In addition, the club extended its sponsorship deal with brewery Gilden Kölsch. The club signed a new two-year deal with the brewery, which has been one of the team's main sponsors since '98 (Cologne Sharks). ... The Handball Bundesliga (HBL) has extended its partnership with sports equipment company Molten for another three years until Dec. 31, 2016. Molten, which provides the official game ball for the HBL, has been a partner of the league since '04 (HBL). ... Second Bundesliga club Energie Cottbus has reached a new two-year deal with energy company Vattenfall. The new deal includes ad space on boards at the club's home ground and training facility (Energie Cottbus). ... German 3rd League football club Karlsruher SC has extended its title sponsorship deal with sun and weather protection systems company Klaiber Markisen (KSC). ... IMG worldwide has signed Jingdong, China's leading direct B2C e-commerce company, as the exclusive online retailing partner of the China Super League for the next five years (IMG). ... The Scottish Rugby Union appointed Essentially Group, a division of CSM Sport & Entertainment (CSM), as its sole and exclusive global commercial agency; tasked with sourcing and negotiating key partnerships, including principle partner to the Scotland national team; and title sponsorship for Scotland’s autumn tests from the '13-14 season onwards (SRU). ... Money transfer company MoneyGram announced that former England cricket captain Alec Stewart will continue to serve as the company's ambassador for events leading to the company sponsorship of the Int'l Cricket Council Champions Trophy 2013 (MoneyGram).