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Volume 10 No. 25
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HSBC Sponsorship Head Talks Sponsorships, Importance Of British, Irish Lions Tour

HSBC Bank is "known in the UAE" for its sponsorship of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, according to Sean Cronin of THE NATIONAL. HSBC also is "promoting the current British and Irish Lions Rugby Tour of Australia." HSBC Head of Sponsorship and Events GILES MORGAN explained to The National why the tour "is an important association for the bank and UAE fans of the game."

Q: What brought you back to the Lions?
Giles Morgan: We were shirt sponsor and principal partner of the British [and Irish] Lions since 2007 for the 2009 tour of South Africa which while ultimately unsuccessful in the test matches was a huge success for both the Lions' brand and rugby tradition and also for HSBC. We made a decision to sponsor the 2013 tour knowing we learnt a great deal about how to make it work better and knowing in certain markets we have great appetite for rugby union.

Q: Has the rapid ascent of companies such as Etihad and Emirates Airline as global sporting sponsors changed the industry?
Morgan: Yes and no. There have always been significant brands who have invested in sport. The Budweisers, the Coca-Colas, or the camera companies back in the seventies. There have always been sectors of industries that invest in sponsorship either consistently in the case of Coca-Cola or more recently in the case of some of the airlines in the Middle East like Etihad and Emirates. You also see a lot of financial services brands from all over the world investing in certain high-end associations such as HSBC, JP Morgan, Barclays, Standard Chartered -- the list is long. You're now seeing a truly international portfolio of the very top companies sponsoring events around the world, be it HSBC or Etihad, because they have recognised that as a marketing tool to answer specific business objectives, sponsorship is a means to an end.

Q: What new events are on your radar?
We've had a pretty significant audit and very focused look at our sponsored portfolio -- what it's for, where we invest, why we invest and how we invest. HSBC has significantly restructured as a business globally and therefore I wanted to make sure our sponsorship portfolio reflected the business change (THE NATIONAL, 6/16).