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Volume 10 No. 22

Marketing and Sponsorship

Adidas "is to challenge Nike’s dominance of Brazil" ahead of the 2014 World Cup "with a barrage of social media activity," according to Sebastian Joseph of MARKETING WEEK. Adidas is "developing activities and programs for its social newsroom teams that it says will make it 'ever-present' around fans’ conversations" in the build-up to and during the tournament. It has been producing Vine clips, tactical tweets and Facebook posts "in response to key moments during football games over the last four months and will scale-up the approach next summer." The move "aims to give the brand more cultural relevance" beyond Europe, particularly in Brazil, where its tie-up with FIFA "will clash with Nike’s commercial links to the national team and strong presence at club level." Additionally, the social media drive "aims to help protect the brand from any ambush stunts from Nike around the World Cup." Adidas Football Global Brand Marketing Dir Tom Ramsden said that "the business is building on the learnings from its real-time marketing activity around last season’s Champions League." Wider sponsorship activity "will look to build on the brand’s current strategy of pushing the technological innovations behind its products" (MARKETING WEEK, 5/31).

Real estate website Zoopla has signed a sponsorship deal with the English Cricket Board for its brand "to become the official ground partner for this summer's test matches," according to Simon Nias of MARKETING MAGAZINE. "will run extensive branding" at all nine int'l, test match and one-day venues, alongside existing sponsors such as Jaguar, Specsavers and Westons Cider. Branding "will appear at venues" including Lord's, The KIA Oval, Emirates Durham ICG, Edgbaston, Old Trafford, The Ageas Bowl, The SWALEC Stadium and Trent Bridge, during the 37 days of int'l cricket this summer (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 5/30).

Scottish Premier League club Hibernian has "signed a new four-year kit deal with Nike," according to the HERALD SCOTLAND. Nike will replace Puma and "will supply all Hibs' first-team strips as well as training gear" through '17. The new contract "will begin with the unveiling of the team's new home kit" on Friday. Hibs Chair Rod Petrie said, "We have worked very closely with Nike on the designs for next season and I am sure the new kits, merchandise and the new look Hibernian Nike Cubstore will be well received by our supporters" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 5/30).

David Beckham's publicist, Simon Oliveira, signed an image-rights agreement with Neymar that makes Brazil's most marketable football player "the first client of his new sports investment group," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Oliveira, who remains part of Beckham's management team, said that "Neymar's management company, NR Sports, signed an accord through 2017 with the new Doyen Global unit of London-based hedge fund Doyen Group." Oliveira said that Doyen Global "will seek new sponsors and partners for Neymar outside Brazil." The 21-year-old, "who is joining Spanish champion Barcelona," is the fifth highest-earning football player with annual income of €20M ($26M). Oliveira: "Our primary focus in the first stage will be on building Neymar’s profile in Asia, where we believe there is real potential for growth" (BLOOMBERG, 5/31).

While many would "assume an Olympic gold medal is a passport to a raft of lucrative endorsement deals, the reality is that" U.K. long jumper Greg Rutherford does "not have a single sponsor to his name," according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Even Rutherford's "long-standing kit contract with Nike" has ended. Rutherford said that without any income other than "competition appearance fees and prize money, ... TV appearances and speaking engagements have become a necessity to pay the mortgage." He said, "I’m not poor. I’d be lying if I said I was. But if people believe that the reason I go on TV is because I love the sound of my own voice, that is completely and utterly wrong." Rutherford admitted that the end of his Nike deal has "come as a 'complete kick in the teeth.'" Rather than being "rewarded with an enhanced Nike deal, Rutherford was shocked to be offered a reduced contract on terms he was unable to accept." He said, "They offered me a contract but the clauses were such that, by the end of this year, I would end up earning probably less than I would have done on my old junior contract. ... To sign a contract for a lower amount with horrible clauses, why would you do that?" Rutherford added, "It’s as if they’re saying, 'You’ve done really well at the Olympics but you’ll never do it again and so we’re not interested.'" Rutherford now has plans to "set up his own clothing brand, 'GRavity.'" He said, "If you’re wearing kit from your own start-up company, then you don’t have to feel you’re being controlled." Hart notes "it is not only Rutherford’s Nike deal that has disappeared." He had "affiliations with a few other brands in the run-up to the Olympics but no longer receives any income from them" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/31).

Wasserman Media Group announced that it expanded its football practice with the appointment of a number of consultants including Chiel Dekker in the Netherlands and Frederic Dobraje, Gregory Dakad, Cedric Mazet and David Martinez in France. The announcement is a natural progression for Wasserman as it continues to build out its football business across Europe and add to its arsenal of players including Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard, Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe and Everton captain Phil Neville. In addition to the U.K., the agency now has football management representatives in the U.S., France, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal and Spain. Wasserman's Int'l Football expansion is being headed up by EVP & Global Football Managing Exec Paul Martin (Wasserman).