German telecom company Deutsche Telekom "is the best-known sponsor in 50 years of Bundesliga football," according to Ingo Rentz of HORIZONT. The Technical University Braunschweig has asked 4,041 people for a study on the occasion of the league's 50th birthday. Deutsche Telekom, the long-time title sponsor of Bayern Munich, "received the top numbers in total mentions and first mentions." The telecom company is followed by "two other companies with a close connection to Bayern Munich." The Deutsche Telekom received 20.94% of all mentions and 10.10% of all first mentions. The second place in the sponsorship ranking went to adidas with 16.31% and 8.96%, respectively. Rounding out the top three is Opel with 9.77% of total mentions and 3.44% of first mentions. The car brand is followed by another car manufacturer, Volkswagen, at No. 4, "before the surprise of the study, Jägermeister." The liquor brand "was the first shirt sponsor in Bundesliga history when it signed a deal with Eintracht Braunschweig in '73." The deal with Braunschweig ended in '87, but "it seems people have not forgotten about the pioneering achievement and honored it with 9.03% of total mentions and 5.74% of first mentions" (HORIZONT, 8/21).
Turkish side Besiktas and Vodafone have inked a 15-year, $145M sponsorship deal that "includes naming rights to the Istanbul football club’s new stadium and jersey advertisements," according to the HURRIYET DAILY NEWS. Vodafone Turkey CEO Gökhan Öğüt said, "This is not only Vodafone Turkey's biggest deal, but also the biggest sponsorship deal in Turkish sports history." As part of the deal, Besiktas's new stadium will be "called Vodafone Arena for 15 years." The arena will be built "on location of Inonu Stadium, which is currently being demolished." During the demolition and construction, Besiktas will "play most of its home games at Kasimpasa's Recep Tayyip Erdogan Stadium, while derbies will be played at Atatürk Olympic Stadium." The sponsorship will "also include turning the Vodafone Arena into a 'smart stadium,' where fans will be able to turn their match-watching experience into an interactive one." The new stadium will be used for "football and rugby matches if Istanbul successfully lands the 2020 Olympic Games bid, according to officials" (HURRIYET DAILY NEWS, 8/20).
Maria Sharapova's plan to change her name to "Sugarpova" for the duration of the U.S. Open to promote her candy line "has received a mixed response from marketers and sports pundits," according to Magda Ibrahim of MARKETING MAGAZINE. M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment CEO Steve Martin "ridiculed the stunt." Martin: "It is the oldest PR trick in the book and it clashes with the brand equity she has. Tennis is a very cool global sport and she has brand partners like Tag Heuer, Porsche and Evian, so to create cheap publicity doesn’t make any sense." PR consultant Calacus Founder David Alexander tweeted, "How many more people have now heard of Sugarpova than had done 48 hours ago? Clever PR." PR Consultant Joe Favorito tweeted, "True or not...this got great buzz...which was the goal, right?" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 8/21). FORBES' Darren Heitner wrote "it would not have been the first time that an athlete changed his or her legal name, but it would have counted as a rare occurrence of an individual seeking an alternate name for the clear and overt purpose of promoting a commercial endeavor." It also "would likely not have been worth the short-term gain that Sharapova received through the onslaught of publicity surrounding the initial announcement that a name change may have been forthcoming." Brand.co President Michael Zammuto said, "It is fun to try to get short-term publicity, but fundamentally it was not going to change the direction of Sharapova’s product anyway." Zammuto also pointed out that Sharapova’s sponsors "may not have been thrilled with the potential change-of-name" (FORBES, 8/20).
PUBLICITY STUNT: ESPNW's Jane McManus wrote an "actual publicity stunt like that is beneath" Sharapova. It is "not as if she is trying to establish herself and needs a publicity bump." Sharapova's name "means something -- persistence and a will of steel, a single-mindedness that is both off-putting and admirable." McManus: "What is Sugarpova? It's the definition of selling out" (ESPNW, 8/20).
AT LEAST SHE WAS BEING UPFRONT: In London, Marina Hyde wrote there was a "certain admirable frankness to Sharapova's money-dash," and her name-change idea "would at least have the virtue of being honest." Hyde: "The sheer artless hilarity of Sugarpova would still be preferable to the stealth trolley dashes that go largely unchided. Do recall that amazing moment when Andy Murray won the U.S. Open last year, and the unedifying spectacle of him appearing to celebrate it not by crowd surfing his way up to the players' box, but by searching frantically for his sponsored watch" (GUARDIAN, 8/21).
Online ticket marketplace viagogo has reacted to the news that Bundesliga club FC Schalk 04 intends to sue the company for damages over a contract dispute from earlier this year. In a statement, viagogo Business Development Head Steve Roest said, "We have not received a lawsuit from Schalke, but we have been preparing our own lawsuit since the club bowed to pressure from its fan groups and failed to honour our agreement. Today's publicity stunt is yet another desperate mesasure by Schalke's management to deflect attention from the facts" (viagogo).
Microsoft opened the Gamescom gaming conference in Cologne, Germany "with a series of announcements designed to boost the Xbox One's juddering PR machine." In a deal with Electronic Arts, "customers in Europe who pre-order the console before Christmas will receive a free digital copy of FIFA 14." Those who have "already pre-ordered an Xbox One" will also receive a free copy of FIFA 14 (London GUARDIAN, 8/20). ... Recently, "much has been made" about the fact that Barcelona wore its second uniform, referred to as the "Senyera," when it took on Atlético Madrid on Wednesday. But this was "not because of any provocation, nor was it a question of marketing." It was, "simply, a sports-related question." Barcelona talked on Tuesday with Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco, who officiated the match, and "asked which uniform it would have to wear." Mallenco informed Barcelona that "because both teams use blue shorts and shirts, Barcelona had to wear its alternate uniform" (SPORT, 8/21). ... Bicycle and car tire manufacturer Cheng Shin Tire "has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Dutch Eredivisie champion Ajax." A "range of cooperations on joint-marketing initiatives are planned" (SOCCEREX, 8/21). ... League One side Bradford City FC "has signed Lindley Venue Catering in a new five-year deal" worth £1.4M ($2.2M). The club "appointed Lindley to manage all of the public matchday catering at the 25,136 capacity Coral Windows Stadium" (CATERER AND HOTELKEEPER, 8/19). ... Wimbledon "reached an agreement with Babolat to have the French company become the official supplier of tennis rackets, bags and accessories for the grasscourt Grand Slam championship." The agreement will begin Jan. 1 "without disclosing terms." Babolat is currently the official shoe supplier for Wimbledon (BLOOMBERG, 8/21). ... England Netball signed FIAT as its official title sponsor for the upcoming series against South Africa. The FIAT Int'l Netball Series will take place from Sept. 22-27 (England Netball). ... ManU and Apollo Tyres signed a three-year regional partnership in which Apollo Tyres becomes the club's official tire partner in the U.K. and India (ManU).