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Volume 6 No. 216

Marketing and Sponsorship

Optus "is not renewing its multi-million-dollar sponsorship and digital content rights deal with Football Federation Australia and a deal with the Carlton Football Club" after the No. 2 telecom firm "decided to withdraw from major sporting sponsorships to focus on its core business," according to Mitchell Bingemann of THE AUSTRALIAN. The decision "will end a five-year relationship with the FFA and means Optus will not appear as a sponsor for the Socceroos if they qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil." Optus, as the incumbent rights-holder, "decided in April to waive its exclusive negotiating period to renew its deal with the FFA, but formally told the national soccer body of its decision to cease all sponsorship activity with the code late last week." Optus Brand Head Nathan Rosenberg said, "We have made the tough decision to not renew our sponsorship as FFA's official telecommunications partner. Exiting the sponsorship with FFA was a tough call, but we need to invest in areas where our customers will directly receive the benefits." Optus's withdrawal means Telstra and Perform Media "are the most likely to pick up the new four-year digital rights agreement, which will encompass the FFA website,, and the websites of the 10 A-League clubs in a joint venture with the FFA" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/3).

Muhammad Ali Enterprises "has teamed up with Double D, the exclusive worldwide licensee for adidas combat sports," in a multi-year partnership brokered and managed by IMG Licensing, according to FIBRE2FASHION. Double D is aligning with "'The Greatest' to launch a collection of technical apparel and boxing performance products, which will be co-branded Muhammad Ali by adidas." Working on behalf of Muhammad Ali Enterprises and adidas, IMG Licensing and Double D, respectively, "will launch the collection in January" at the global sports trade show ISPO in Munich. This is the first time that the Muhammad Ali brand "is partnering with adidas on technical boxing equipment and sports apparel having previously collaborated on a limited edition fashion collection." The products "will consist of high performance technical apparel, footwear and boxing equipment, with the footwear bearing a redesign of the famed white & red color combination worn by Ali in 1974" (FIBRE2FASHION, 6/3).

Emirates airline has agreed to a multi-year deal as jersey sponsor of the reborn N.Y. Cosmos, which will begin play in the North American Soccer League this August. The deal will be announced at a press conference featuring Pelé in N.Y. on Tuesday. Outside of some hospitality deals, the Cosmos agreement will be Emirates' first sponsorship with a U.S. sports team. However, the airline has various tennis and golf sponsorships in the U.S., including title sponsorship of the U.S. Open summer tennis series. CAA Sports is Emirates' U.S. sports agency, but offered no comment on the Cosmos deal. The team and Emirates officials also have begun discussions on a naming-rights deal for a future stadium -- a venue that, as yet, has no blueprints, funding or governmental approvals. The football club will begin play in James M. Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra Univ. Emirates sponsors several of Europe's top football clubs, including a stadium naming-rights and jersey deal with EPL club Arsenal, as well as sponsorships with La Liga club Real Madrid, Serie A club AC Milan and Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain.

Man City and ManU "have been blasted" for charging more than £100 ($153) for kids’ kits, according to Nafeesa Shan of the London SUN. Both clubs "have hiked their prices for outfits made by Nike." It is the first time the total price of a shirt, shorts, socks, badges and printed names "has broken the £100 barrier." A Man City spokesperson said, "The cost reflects value to the consumer through design, innovation, development, manufacturing and retailing." This is Nike’s first Man City strip after the club signed a six-year deal worth £72M ($110M) (SUN, 6/1).

ADIDAS' ZIMBABWE DETAILS: In Harare, Robson Sharuko reported Zimbabwe sides Dynamos and Highlanders will get a 7% share from sales of their new adidas replica jerseys as part of the kit deal agreed to last week. The clubs "will also be provided with the branded kit and training equipment in a landmark deal that could be sweetened depending on its success in terms of the volume of jerseys sold." Bosso Chair Peter Dube described the partnership with adidas as "historic." Dube: "The sponsorship has made Highlanders a part of history and partnering adidas will allow us to be among the best in the world." Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association Organizing Secretary Fortune Bgwoni said that the asking price for a single jersey "appeared high for the average fan but such original jerseys also came at a big price." Bgwoni: "When you look at $50, it is a big amount and it’s very clear that the average supporter will need to do a lot of savings to buy his jersey, but it’s also important for us to realize that such quality stuff comes at a price" (Zimbabwe HERALD, 5/31).

Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) club BBC Bayreuth "will change its name starting with the '13-14 season," according to the SID. The new name of the team "will be medi Bayreuth." The Bayreuth-based medical company "has signed on as the team's new title sponsor." It "will be first renaming of the club in its history." Club Managing Dir Martin Piotrowski said, "We are obviously very happy that we can present a new title sponsor to our fans, the region and all basketball-interested people. With the new partnership, we have set a decisive course for basketball in Bayreuth" (SID, 6/3).