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Volume 6 No. 214

Marketing and Sponsorship

The National Rugby League will not "pursue an official betting partner for the rest of the season," believing the income is not enough to "offset the bad publicity surrounding sports wagering," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Negotiations between the Australian Rugby League Commission and Tom Waterhouse -- on a deal reportedly worth A$20M ($19.2M) over five years -- "spectacularly unravelled earlier this year." As soon as the news became public, a number of betting agencies, including long-term partner TAB, "expressed interest in filling the breach this season." However, the ARLC "has opted not to find a replacement." An NRL spokesperson said, "We will always continue to monitor the situation, but as we've said, it's extremely unlikely that we will confirm a betting partner for the rest of the 2013 season." The value of any potential deal in the current climate "has also come under question." A parliamentary committee "raised the prospect of banning advertisements on sports grounds or on football jerseys due to concerns about the effect punting culture has on minors" (SMH, 6/14).

The incident involving Australian cricketer David Warner "will stir fresh debate about the relationship between cricket and alcohol sponsorship in Australia," less than a year after a dozen sports agreed to campaign against binge drinking rather than accept money from breweries, according to Richard Hobson of the LONDON TIMES. Organizing bodies for swimming, football and basketball "were among those who agreed to a government initiative in exchange for funding," but the three biggest sports in the country -- Cricket Australia, rugby league and Australian rules football -- "did not sign up." Although Sports Minister Kate Lundy noted that CA had a responsible drinking message, the latest bad publicity brought on by alcohol "will give fresh focus to the issue" some five years after former Australian bowler Mike Whitney predicted alcohol sponsorship would “go the same way as cigarettes.” In '07, a study at the University of Wollongong found “alcohol sponsorship is pervasive in Australian cricket and exposure to alcohol sponsorship is inescapable for people who watch the sport, many of whom would be under the legal drinking age” (LONDON TIMES, 6/13).

League Championship side Birmingham City has announced that electronic cigarette company Nicolites will be its "new principal partner and shirt sponsor" for the '13-14 season, according to Gregg Evans of the BIRMINGHAM MAIL. The Nicolites logo "will adorn Blues’ first-team and adult replica shirts for the forthcoming Championship campaign." The club has also confirmed that "the link with last season’s official charity partner, Help Harry Help Others, will continue." As part of the new sponsorship agreement, Nicolites will allow Help Harry Help Others to carry its colorful logo on the front of all junior, infant and baby shirts for the '13-14 campaign. It "will also feature on the Blues Academy’s playing kit" (BIRMINGHAM MAIL, 6/13).

Japanese electronics company Panasonic "has signed footballer Marco Reus to a testimonial deal," according to Ulrike App of W&V. The company is talking about a "broadly based advertising campaign" that will include its new brand ambassador. Panasonic has hired the 24-year-old for its camera system Lumix G. Panasonic wants to position itself "as a young, innovative and future-proof brand" with the help of the Borussia Dortmund player. Reus is represented by Cologne-based agency Sports Total. The German national team player is currently part of Puma's "The Nature of Performance" campaign. In addition, he "has contracts with toy producer Mattel and its Hot Wheels brand" (W&V, 6/12).

Second Bundesliga club FSV Frankfurt "has extended its stadium naming rights deal with Frankfurter Volksbank for another three years" through June '16. The club "will continue to play its home games at the Frankfurter Volksbank Arena." The bank "has been a partner of the club for seven years" (JOURNAL FRANKFURT, 6/13). ... Handball Bundesliga (HBL) club SG Flensburg-Handewitt "has extended its long-term partnership with Denmark-based investment company Sparinvest." The company "will continue to be a premium partner of the club." In addition to hospitality packages, Sparinvest "will continue to receive ad space on boards in camera view at home games at the Flens-Arena as well as presence in the club's online and print publications" (FLENSBURGER TAGEBLATT, 6/13). ... Fortuna Dusseldorf and Infront Sports & Media have agreed to a four-year extension to their partnership beginning in '13-14. The int'l sports marketing company will continue to market all commercial rights of the club -- including the main sponsorship, hospitality packages and stadium advertising -- from its location in Dusseldorf (Infront).

ELSEWHERE...: Mercedes-Benz has appointed South African professional golfer Louis Oosthuizen as golf ambassador. Mercedes-Benz South Africa will also assist Oosthuizen's junior golf academy (Mercedes-Benz). ... New Zealand All Blacks players Richie McCaw and Dan Carter have extended their contracts as ambassadors for adidas through '16 (adidas). ... League Championship club Charlton Athletic announced a one-year extension with shirt sponsor Andrews Sykes Group for the '13-14 season. The int'l climate control and pump hire group's principal brand 'Andrews Air Conditioning' will adorn a new Charlton home strip for the forthcoming campaign (Charlton). ... CitySigns has signed a two-year extension with Premiership rugby side Worcester Warriors to be the club's official signage partner (CitySigns). ... Portugal Telecom and the Cape Verde Football Federation subsidiary CVMóvel have renewed their sponsorship three years, while launching the CVMóvel Blue Sharks, aimed at training a new generation of Cape Verde players (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 6/13). ... La Liga side Atlético Madrid presented on Thursday its new uniform for next season, with its colors -- red and blue -- slightly darker, resembling the team's uniforms from the '60s, "the golden years in franchise history" (EL MUNDO, 6/13).