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Volume 6 No. 213

Marketing and Sponsorship

Swimming Australia's "problems continued to mount" on Wednesday after it lost major sponsor EnergyAustralia just days after the SA President Barclay Nettlefold resigned over allegations of "inappropriate" behavior, according to Sudipto Ganguly of REUTERS. SA CEO Mark Anderson said, "This is a difficult time for Swimming Australia and we recognize there are no easy solutions. Firstly, Barclay Nettlefold resigned ... Now a major sponsor has withdrawn its support from Swimming Australia. This is obviously disappointing but we respect the decision" (REUTERS, 6/5). The AAP's Laine Clark reported the sponsorship -- believed to be worth at least A$2M ($1.9M) a year -- "reportedly made up almost half of SA's annual revenue for corporate sponsorship." It is "another body blow" to SA, which is "trying to rebuild after Australia's disappointing London Olympic performance tainted by the Stilnox controversy." Nettlefold's resignation "appeared to be the last straw" for EnergyAustralia (AAP, 6/5).

: In Sydney, Nicole Jeffery reported EnergyAustralia "was already nervous" after the Stilnox scandal involving the men's 4x100m freestyle relay, but "had been reassured by the cultural changes being instituted in the sport -- until the face of those changes, Nettlefold, was forced to step down." Anderson claimed that the sport "would recover from the series of scandals, setbacks and resignations it had sustained" since the London Olympics. Anderson: "We have made a number of cultural and governance changes but the events of the last few days have crystallised the need for further endemic organisational and cultural change" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/5). In Brisbane, Todd Balym noted combined with the A$500,000 in annual funding cuts the sport received from the Australian Sports Commission, the sport now has an A$8M shortfall between now and the 2016 Rio Olympics (COURIER-MAIL, 6/5).

Brazilian sports business consulting firm Pluri Consultoria has calculated that Neymar's market value has increased 22.6%, from €55M ($72M) to €67.4M ($88.2M), since his signing with Barcelona, according to the EFE. Pluri said, "The player transfer from Santos to Barcelona was decisive in this appreciation that, at 21 years old, transforms Neymar from a Brazilian football star into an international star." Neymar's value has benefited from "dividing his performances between one of the best club teams in the world (Barcelona) and one of the top national teams (Brazil)." The increase makes Neymar the third-most valuable football player in the world, behind Lionel Messi (€140M) ($183M) and Cristiano Ronaldo (€96.3M) ($126M). With Neymar's trade to Barcelona, he passed Barcelona player Andrés Iniesta and Wayne Rooney in market value. Pluri "calculates a footballer's market value based on 61 specific criterion, including age, creativity, physical strength, ability to define a game and championships won" (EFE, 6/5).

DIS GROUP UNHAPPY: The DIS Group, which owned 40% of Neymar's rights before the transfer, "has been left with a bitter taste in the mouth in light of the revelation" that the deal is worth €57M ($74.5M) in total and has threatened to report Barcelona to FIFA. DIS Group CEO Roberto Moreno said that "the company feels cheated and will look to claim what it believes it is due." Barcelona VP Josep Maria Bartomeu admitted that the club had made a €10M down payment, "something FIFA rules forbid when the player in question is under contract" (MARCA, 6/5). 

NATIONAL TEAM NUMBER CHANGE: Neymar, whose jersey number with the Brazilian national team has typically been 11, wore 10 in a friendly on Sunday against England. The national team has announced its list of 23 players and the jerseys they will wear for the upcoming Confederations Cup, with Neymar set to wear No. 10. It is the same number that Pelé wore as a 17-year-old in the 1958 World Cup (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 6/5).

League Championship side Bolton Wanderers "have dropped plans to be sponsored by pay-day loan company QuickQuid after fans protested against the move," according to the BBC. The club said it had taken the decision after "feedback" from fans and discussions with "local and national politicians." A petition against the Championship club's two-year sponsorship deal "received almost 4,500 signatures." The pay-day loan industry was criticised by regulator the Office of Fair Trading for "widespread irresponsible lending" and charity Citizens Advice for being "out of control." The club will now be sponsored by Bolton-based energy company FibrLec (BBC, 6/5). A statement on the club's website read, "The club have taken on board feedback from our fan base and following discussions between chairman Phil Gartside and several local and national politicians, including the leader of Bolton council Cliff Morris, we will no longer be entering into a sponsorship agreement with QuickQuid" (Bolton).

CLEANER IMAGE: In Bolton, Mark Smith reported FibrLec is a new Bolton-based sustainable energy company "that specialises in commercialising the university’s innovative smart materials." Its logo, incorporating the university logo, "will feature on the club’s new match kit and training wear for the next two years." Councillor Christopher Peacock, who launched a petition to get the club to reconsider following the announcement, said, "I’m absolutely delighted with the news. I think first and foremost, it’s fantastic that Bolton Wanderers have taken this proactive step and they deserve credit" (BOLTON NEWS, 6/5).

Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) club Fraport Skyliners has extended its title sponsorship deal with Fraport AG. The company, which has been the club's title sponor since July 1, 2011, signed an early contract extension with the Frankfurt-based team. The new long-term deal includes the naming-rights to the team and arena, as well as ads on boards at home games, logo presence on the jersey and additional measures surrounding the club's marketing and communication departments (Fraport Skyliners). A spokesperson for the club told SBD Global, "Both parties agreed to not disclose contract length and value" (HJ Mai, SBD Global).

Women's football received a major boost last week with the announcement of Concentrix as the new sponsor for girls and women’s league football in Northern Ireland. Initially for a one-year period, the sponsorship deal will involve naming rights of the six senior leagues and the small sided junior leagues (Irish FA). ... New Zealand's Canterbury Rugby Football Union signed SBS Bank as its new principal sponsor for the ITM Cup and Canterbury Sevens representative teams. SBS Bank will hold the primary branding rights for these teams (CRFU). ... Digicel will be extending its sponsorship of West Indies Cricket for three years through Sept. '16. The company will retain its title as team sponsor (Digicel).