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Volume 6 No. 214

Marketing and Sponsorship

A year after India's best-ever performance at the Olympics and Paralympics, most of the medalists -- hailed as heroes -- "are still waiting for corporate India to wake up to their feats and use their brand value," according to Biju Babu Cyriac of the TIMES OF INDIA. While the athletes have received decent monetary rewards, mostly from the government sector, "many endorsement offers were supposed to come their way as top corporates showed interest." But a year later, they have not materialized, "and at least one state government is yet to fulfill its promise of cash awards." For some, a job promotion has not happened "while some await promised financial rewards." The euphoria following India's improved performance in London -- where the country won two Silver Medals and four Bronze -- may have lasted for months, but it was not enough "to convince corporate to make a move away from the cricketers." A year later, companies which made a beeline for these super achievers now seem to have forgotten about them. Dismayed at the turn of events, "athletes are now wondering whether India's corporates will ever come around to promoting Olympic sports." A top athlete fumed, "They will say Indians are not doing well in the Olympics and World Championships, but what is their contribution? Do they support sports outside cricket?" (TIMES OF INDIA, 8/7).

Japan Professional Football League Division 1 side Albirex Niigata is looking for another stadium sponsor after Tohoku Electric Power Co. decided to end its sponsorship of the club's 42,300-seat home at the end of this year. Tohoku Electric, like all of Japan’s utilities, has been in the red since the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March '11. With nuclear reactors mothballed, it has been forced to import huge quantities of fossil fuels to make up for the shortfall. Albirex spokesperson Kosuke Kurihara told SBD Global, “We are now in the process of looking for a new naming rights’ sponsor and will consider offers in excess of 70M yen ($700,000) annually for a three-year contract.”

THE BIG SWAN: The arena, which was built for the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosted by Japan and Korea, has been named the Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium since March '07. The club wants the new sponsor to carry on using Big Swan as part of the name as it reflects the design of the stadium and supporters are strongly attached to it, Kurihara said. Albirex had been one of the best-supported clubs in the J.League, but crowds have fallen off in recent years. It logged a J2 record average of more than 30,000 in '03 and was attracting more than 40,000 by the '05 season. However, attendances had fallen to just above 30,000 by '10, and to just over 25,000 last season.
Gavin Blair is a writer in Tokyo.

The FA of Wales has announced a four-year sponsorship extension with Vauxhall Motors until '18. The car manufacturer will support the national team until the end of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, should it qualify. The company's agreement also applies to the nation's youth and women's sides. As part of the new agreement, Vauxhall will be making a significant investment into the media department at the FAW with an aim of giving fans greater behind the scenes access via unique video content (Vauxhall).

Australian A-League side Western Sydney announced a multi-year partnership with Mitsubishi Electric for the '13-14 season. As part of the deal, Mitsubishi electric will feature prominently on the back of the Wanderers' playing jersey (Western Sydney). ... ManU has agreed to a sponsorship deal with African consumer finance company afb. The five-year agreement will see afb produce and market the official ManU credit card in Kenya. It is ManU's 12th financial service agreement (ManU). ... CST Tires has announced a three-year sponsorship deal with Eredivisie side Ajax Amsterdam, to be signed Aug. 20 (CST). ... FIBA global strategic partner PEAK will sponsor the official shoes for the five-continent (Asia, Eurasia, America, Africa and Oceania) male/female championship and official clothing for the Asia championship. PEAK's newly designed shoes for the judges will appear at the intercontinental championship (PEAK). ... Netball New Zealand announced restaurant franchise Pita Pit as a new sponsor (Netball New Zealand).

IN GERMANY: Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg has agreed to a new premium partnership with car brakes brand ATE. The subsidiary of automotive supplier Continental will receive logo presence on LED boards in camera view as well a several other marketing opportunities surrounding the club's communications (VfL Wolfsburg). ... The German Handball Federation (DHB) has signed a sponsorship deal with furniture discounter SB-Möbel Boss starting with the '13-14 season. The company's logo will be featured on the referees' jerseys at all games of the Handball Bundesliga (HBL), 2nd Bundesliga, DHB Pokal (German Cup), Final Four, All-Star Game and Super Cup. In addition, SB-Möbel Boss will receive various marketing opportunities at games of the men's national team (DHB). ... Discount German cell phone provider Otelo, a subsidiary of Vodafone, "offers its retailers a sports merchandise catalog for local marketing." It enables retailers, for example, "to provide local football clubs with jerseys that feature the retailers logo on the front and the Otelo logo on the sleeve." In addition to football jerseys, Otelo offers basketball jerseys, coaches jackets, shirts and shorts. (TELECOM HANDEL, 8/6).