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Volume 10 No. 25

Marketing and Sponsorship

The Scottish FA and bookmaker William Hill have agreed to a new two-year sponsorship extension for the Scottish Cup. Specific dollar figures were not announced, but the Scottish FA said that it was a seven-figure deal that runs through '16. The existing contract has a year remaining. In addition to title sponsor of the Scottish Cup, William Hill is also an official supporter of the Scottish national team. The deal will also allow William Hill to showcase its online, mobile and retail products to Scottish football fans (Scottish FA).

SPL UNCERTAINTY: The BBC reported the Scottish Premier League's continued search for a sponsor is "no surprise." SFA CEO Stewart Regan said that uncertainty over league restructuring is "impacting on attracting a new top-flight sponsor." Regan: "Hopefully, reconstruction will deliver some positive outcomes" (BBC, 5/20).

England football's new shirt supplier, Nike, will "launch a marketing campaign aimed at persuading fans to put their support for the national team ahead of club allegiance," according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. The slogan "Country First Club Second" will be used to help sell the idea when the shirts are unveiled for England’s friendly against Ireland at Wembley on Wednesday. The away strip will be revealed against Brazil in the Maracanã stadium Sunday. Nike faces "an uphill task" as the majority of football fans, unlike their rugby and cricket counterparts, "favour their club team well ahead of" the national team. Nike said that "they are keeping their shirt designs and strategy secret ahead of the launch." However, Nike "gave the FA council an advance viewing" Wednesday, with models showing off the home outfit -- "white with a round neck" -- and the red away version, "which has a collar." Both feature "a gold FA 150 motif below the England crest" (DAILY MAIL, 5/16).

GERMAN APPEAL: In London, Oliver Moody wrote "It’s a bit more Beckenbauer than Beckham." England’s new monochrome shirt "was revealed" by England midfielder Jack Wilshere Monday morning "to widespread comparisons with Germany kits of times past." With a simple dark navy collar on a white top, the shirt "bears more than a passing resemblance" to the kit worn by the West Germany team that won the 1974 World Cup. Nike, which took over the contract to supply England’s strip from Umbro this year, "opted for a plain design featuring only the Three Lions logo and its signature tick" (LONDON TIMES, 5/20). The BBC reported Wilshire "put out the picture of the kit being worn by a student at his old school." Wilshire said on his official Twitter account, "Like this kid, my England dream began here, so he was first in #theshirt." Former England int'l and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker said on his Twitter account, "Smart move by the FA and Nike to go slighlty German with the strip. If you can't beat 'em..." (BBC, 5/20).

Advertisers and sponsors of the Indian Premier League "hope the scandal would not affect viewership of the tournament and impact its brand value," according to the PTI. Multi Screen Media, official broadcaster of the T20 format, said that fixing of matches by players of a particular team "would not impact the brand value and viewership of IPL matches." MSM President of Network Sales Rohit Gupta said, "It is only three players who have been caught. There are 300 other players who are playing, so we do not believe this spot-fixing is going on in all the matches." Industry expert Navin Khemka said that the scandal "would have no adverse impact on advertising deals." Khemka said, "All IPL deals are done at the beginning." Water purifier maker Kent RO, one of the sponsors of the IPL team Rajasthan Royals, whose three players have been arrested on spot fixing allegations, "termed the current situation as 'painful' for them." Kent RO Chair/Managing Dir Mahesh Gupta said, "We are absolutely disgusted with what these three players have done. Gupta, however, added the company will continue to sponsor the Rajasthan team." PepsiCo India, the title sponsor of the tournament, said through a spokesperson, "The matter is under investigation, and we are confident that the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the IPL Governing Council will take appropriate action." Coca-Cola India "hoped that authorities would investigate and take the required action." Coke said that it "will continue to support cricket, both at the grassroots and at other levels" (PTI, 5/20).

Bookmaker Tom Waterhouse's bid to become an official sponsor to the National Rugby League competition "is dead in the water," according to Lisa Davies of the BRISBANE TIMES. Both parties are "walking away from negotiations" on a deal that was set to cost the bookmaker A$50M ($49M) over five years. NRL's Strategy GM Shane Mattiske said the league had "failed to reach agreement around terms with Tom Waterhouse." Earlier this year, Waterhouse outbid the nation's leading wagering company, Tabcorp, "to become the preferred bidder for an official sponsor title." The failure of this deal "will not affect Waterhouse's deal with Channel Nine." Mattiske said that the decision by the network to put the bookie on its sports panel to spruik the betting odds "had tested the NRL's own guidelines" (BRISBANE TIMES, 5/20).

A DIFFICULT BET: In Sydney, Proszenko & Aston reported the NRL's decision to reconsider its relationship with the gaming industry comes as Waterhouse was branded ''gutless'' after refusing for the second time to "front a parliamentary inquiry into the promotion of gambling in sport." NRL spokesperson John Brady said, ''It was a case where we were in discussions but the terms weren't concluded. We have not signed any alternate sponsor at this stage." New NRL CEO Dave Smith was "instrumental in the decision to reconsider the deal" with Waterhouse (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/21).