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Volume 10 No. 24

Marketing and Sponsorship

Australian-American media mogul Rupert Murdoch's entertainment business "is stepping up its involvement with cycling's Team Sky," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. Team Sky will add the 21st Century Fox brand to the riders' kit and support vehicles "when the Tour de France begins this weekend." 21st Century Fox "is the media and entertainment company that will be created on Friday when Murdoch's News Corp. empire is split into two separate businesses" (REUTERS, 6/26). CYCLING WEEKLY's Nick Bull wrote the move "has not been greeted enthusiastically by a number of the team's fans," with many unhappy about the increased ties between the squad and Murdoch, and also because any '13 replica kit they have is already out of date (CYCLING WEEKLY, 6/26).  

Cycling sponsors "can enjoy great value for money if they are willing to trust that the sport is finally leaving its dark doping days behind," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. Cycling "has been boosted by news that U.S. consumer electronics company Belkin will sponsor the former Rabobank team until 2015." Last year, cycling "was reeling from the downfall of American rider Lance Armstrong." However, a feared rush for the exits by sponsors "has failed to materialize." The deal with California-based Belkin shows that companies "still want to buy into a sport offering wide exposure to an affluent audience for a modest price." Lars Seier Christensen, CEO of Saxo Bank, the Danish company which sponsors the Saxo-Tinkoff team, said, "If they look at the fundamentals of the sport, they are really strong. More and more people are taking up cycling. It's a much better deal than other sports -- the doping problem instituted a discount in the pricing." Despite the importance of sponsors, cycling "does not market itself as slickly as other sports." REPUCOM Dir Ulrich Lacher said, "Formula One and football are more glamorous and are sold more professionally." Cycling can also learn from sports like F1 by giving TV viewers "more of an inside view on races through greater use of features such as audio and data feeds." IMG took over as the int'l distributor for the Giro d'Italia race this year. IMG Global Sales & Acquisitions Head Ioris Francini said that "the number of broadcasters taking the Giro and hours screened had doubled" over '12, a sign of the sport's global appeal (REUTERS, 6/26).

Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho "seems to be already preparing his life after the end of his professional career," according to BILD. The 33-year-old former two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, who "recently launched a fashion collection called 'Fiveblu,'" has added another business deal to his portfolio. Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported that Ronaldinho "will launch a condom brand." The brand will be called "Ronaldinho" and produced by manufacturer "Sex free." The company already has an existing partnership with Ronaldinho and his current club Atletico Mineiro to fight AIDS (BILD, 6/26).

When it comes to sportswear, fashion designer Stella McCartney "is more than well versed," according to Bibby Sowray of the London TELEGRAPH. Her latest coup "is kitting out three of Wimbledon's biggest talents; Brit Laura Robson, Dane Caroline Wozniacki, and Russian Maria Kirilenko." All three "will wear her new 'Barricade' range" for adidas throughout the competition. It is the third time 19-year-old British hopeful Robson has worn Stella for adidas to compete, "and the third dedicated tennis collection that McCartney has designed to go on sale to the public" (TELEGRAPH, 6/25).

It is already known that insurance company Regal will not continue as the sponsor of the Barcelona basketball team, according to Francesc Perearnau of MUNDO DEPORTIVO. As a result of Spain's current economic crisis, "it appears that Alusport and Intersport will end their sponsorships with Barcelona's indoor football and handball teams, respectively." Conscious of the "very strong demands of sponsorship," Barcelona is considering incorporating a single sponsor for each of the three teams for the '13-14 season (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 6/26).

Bundesliga side Hertha BSC Berlin has signed a new exclusive partnership deal with insurance company Direct Line. The two-year deal, which will take effect on July 1, includes extensive advertisement and public relation measures. The partnership was brokered by sports marketing company SPORTFIVE (Hertha BSC). ... Scottish Premier League Celtic has teamed with Sports Revolution to bring Wi-Fi to Celtic Park for the '13-14 season (Celtic). ... Nike launched its Mi Pista campaign in Spain, and according to viralblog, "employed trucks and technicians to 'beam down' a pitch on the streets whenever a pick-up game of football needed to be played as way of marketing their new Nike football boots" (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 6/26). ... League Championship side Millwall has announced that it "will be sponsored by Prostate Cancer UK next season," and it has offered the charity sponsorship of its shirts for free. Former Lions captain Neil Harris, now coach at the club, "fought testicular cancer earlier in his career," as did Dir Trevor Keyse (London DAILY MAIL, 6/26). ... The Rugby Football Union confirmed Greene King IPA as the first title partner of the RFU Championship, the second tier of professional rugby in England (RFU). ... The South African FA "has extended its partnership with Sasol in a deal that will see the energy and chemical company continue as the headline sponsor of the women’s national team and title sponsor of the top-tier domestic women’s league" until '17 (SOCCEREX, 6/26). ... League One club Crawley Town FC has agreed to a new two-year shirt sponsorship deal with online casino 32Red (Crawley Town).