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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

The Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund Saturday at London's Wembley stadium "isn’t the only all-German contest," according to Julie Cruz of BLOOMBERG. The crosstown rivals that supply their uniforms "will face off in the latest chapter of a fight that’s even older than Europe’s most prestigious club tournament." Adidas outfits favorite Munich, whose three-stripe logo "has appeared in five of the last 10 finals." Dortmund’s supplier, Puma, will see its first final since '04. Bankhaus Metzler analyst Sebastian Frericks said backing the winner of the first all-German final “is much more important for Puma than adidas.” Frericks: "Puma is not able to invest the same amount of money into sponsorship as adidas and Nike, so they have to pick their teams very carefully." According to research by investment bank Bryan Garnier & Co., the game provides exposure for the two brands to millions of fans watching on TV, and the victor will likely get a “small” boost from sales of replica jerseys. Still, Commerzbank AG analyst Andreas Riemann said that success for Dortmund "would do little to change Puma’s image as more of a purveyor of casual gear," rather than equipment and shoes that give athletes an edge. Riemann: "Puma is still struggling. In soccer, they probably won’t catch up with adidas" (BLOOMBERG, 5/23).

Sergio García "has issued an emotional apology to Tiger Woods for his racist jibe" against the world No. 1, but is still "facing the prospect of losing millions of pounds in sponsorship deals," acording to James Corrigan of the London TELEGRAPH. García met European Tour CEO George O’Grady and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem Wednesday. O'Grady said, "Sergio expressed very deep and sincere regret for his unguarded and, in his own words, ‘stupid’ remark and we are also aware of his statement of apology. Following our meeting, we have accepted his full apology and we consider the matter closed." While the Tours might consider the issue closed, García "is aware that his sponsors do not yet feel the same." His main backer is TaylorMade-adidas, which said that his comment was “offensive and in no way aligns with TaylorMade-adidas Golf’s values and corporate culture.” TaylorMade-adidas added, "We discussed with Sergio that his comments are out of bounds and we are continuing to review the matter.” The review involves the Californian company’s human resources division, and insiders claimed that "it is possible that García’s contract would be cancelled." Industry figures estimated the annual worth of the performance-related deal at up to £5.32M ($7.6M). Another sponsor, Omega, is "also likely to launch a review, although the watchmaker could not be contacted" (TELEGRAPH, 5/22).

Royal Ascot "has finally succumbed to the lure and lucre of commercial sponsorship" and signed a deal with Swiss watchmaker Longines worth "several million pounds" over five years, according to Robert Lea of the LONDON TIMES. But "Ascot being Ascot," officials are "declining to admit that its prestigious five-day royal meeting will be sponsored," instead calling the deal the appointment of the inaugural “official partner of Royal Ascot.” The event has not gone as far as to be called the Longines Royal Ascot. Nor will Longines "get its name on any of the festival’s 30 races, which will remain unbranded." Instead,  Longines "will be a highly visible Royal Ascot presence" with a giant chronometer at the winning post, recording race times and course records, and a Longines clock adorning the parade ring. Part of the Swatch group, "it will also be able to tout its Ascot relationship in its own advertising." Ascot CEO Charles Barnett said Longines will not be the only partner and over time he envisages "five or six upmarket brands willing to pay to swell the coffers of the course, which is still paying for the £210 million development of its grandstand in 2006." The potential partners will likely include a fashion retailer, "chiming with Royal Ascot’s status as a catwalk of high summer style," and premium car brands like BMW and Mercedes Benz (LONDON TIMES, 5/24).

Ford is using what it "claims is Europe's 'Super Bowl' moment to kick off a new brand campaign to promote the range of technologies available with its vehicles," according to Alex Brownsell of MARKETING MAGAZINE. The carmaker is "timing the pan-European campaign" to go along with Saturday's Champions League final at Wembley Stadium, "of which Ford is a sponsor." A 30-second TV ad will "break during the half time interval" of the match between Bundesliga clubs Bayern Munich and Dortmund, "with the aim of bringing to life Ford’s 'Go Further' brand promise." Ads also will be "shown on perimeter board during the game." Ford is placing a "heavy digital and social focus on the new campaign, and visitors to Ford’s homepage [are] greeted with a new-look design emphasising range of 'smart, safe and green technologies'" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 5/23).

Luxury hotel group Jumeirah will become the official hotel provider for the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall in London, an event owned by IMG. Jumeirah Carlton Tower and Jumeirah Grosvenor House Apartments based in Knightsbridge will provide accomodation for tennis players at the event (IMG). ... Serie A Goiás "has agreed a new kit partnership with Puma" (GOAL, 5/23). ... Barcelona Deputy Mayor Antoni Vives has defended the initiative to put a Barcelona jersey on a Christopher Columbus statue in the city, despite complaints from Espanyol, Barcelona FC's crosstown rival. Vives pointed out that the city government received €100,000 ($129,000) from Nike for the advertising. Vives referred to Espanyol President Joan Collet, who explained that "he was very upset with the Barcelona jersey on Columbus" (EFE, 5/23).