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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

The IOC is in the middle of a review of its worldwide sponsorship program, known as TOP. During a presentation at the 125th IOC session in Buenos Aires, IOC Marketing Commission Chair Gerhard Heiberg said the organization has signed seven of its current sponsors through '20, allowing it to make changes to the program if it wishes after that year. "It's a moment for reflection and making sure we are best prepared for the future," Heiberg said. "We are looking at our commercial programs beyond 2020 in terms of our shareholders' needs and the wider geo-political ... and technological context." It is the third review of TOP since the program was created in '85. Heiberg did not provide any details for how the program might change. He only said the review will continue this year following the selection of a new IOC president Tuesday. One thing that will not change is the number of partners in the TOP program. Heiberg expects the IOC to continue to cap the number of sponsors at 10 or 12 so that enough categories remain for the Olympic organizing committees and national Olympic committees to sell. "Ten to 12 is still the right number of TOP sponsors," Heiberg said. "We need to share between Olympic parties." In addition to speaking about the future of TOP, Heiberg gave an overview of the sponsorship sales for the 2012 London, 2014 Sochi and 2016 Rio Games. London sold an Olympic record $1.1B in sponsorship and Sochi has generated $1B from 37 companies. Heiberg said Rio got off to a strong start but was facing a tough Brazilian economy that had slowed its sponsorship sales. "The program looks very different than when it was launched," said Heiberg, who did not provide financial details of what Rio has sold to date. "Discussions with a number of interested sponsors are ongoing."

Tripp Mickle is on the ground in Buenos Aires reporting and tweeting from the IOC meetings. Look for continued posts from him on our On The Ground blog.

The new Formula E electric motor racing series "has signed up technology company Qualcomm and logistics provider DHL as corporate sponsors before its launch next September," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. Californian company Qualcomm "will be the official technology partner to the championship, while German-owned DHL will help to move cars and equipment between the 10 cities that will host races." The support of two major corporate backers from either side of the Atlantic "is a boost for Formula E, a new series of races that will feature cars powered by electric energy scheduled for launch in September 2014" (REUTERS, 9/9). In London, Roger Blitz reported DHL, which also sponsors F1 and ManU, "will be the logistics partner of the electric car series." The electric car series "plans to use Qualcomm’s technology to charge the racing cars wirelessly, though not until the second season." The wireless technology "involves the use of magnetic induction transferring energy between the ground and the vehicle" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 9/9).

German telecom company Deutsche Telekom said that "it also wants to offer sports betting in the future," according to DIE WELT. A corresponding license application "is currently under review by the Hesse interior ministry." The project "is still in a very early stage." A Deutsche Telekom spokesperson said, "It hasn't been decided if it will become an operative business." The plans have been made public by the cartel office, which announced that Deutsche Telekom "intends to purchase a majority stake in a company called Deutsche Sportwetten" (DSW) (German sports bets). The takeover "has to be approved by the cartel office." A Telekom spokesperson said that DSW "is a subsidiary of Austrian gambling company Casion Austria." The spokesperson "declined to comment on purchase price or investments" (DIE WELT, 9/6).

The British Basketball Association announced it has reached a five-year agreement with The Aspire Sport Marketing Group (U.K.) Ltd. to handle all ticket marketing, ticket sales and fan development for the new league. The BBA plans to commence league operations in late '14, with a goal of building 12-plus teams in the near future. The Aspire Group's roster of clients includes the NBA, the NHL, the MLB L.A. Dodgers, a host of top NCAA Athletics programs and several English sport properties including Leeds United FC, Coventry City FC and London Irish Rugby Clubs (BBA). ... Second Bundesliga club FC Cologne has signed an early extension with its title sponsor, retail and tourism company REWE Group. The REWE logo will continue to be featured on the team's jerseys until the end of the '14-15 season (FC Cologne). ... Dutch Eredivisie side Feyenoord "has signed a five-year kit deal" with adidas, effective starting in the '14-15 season. Adidas will replace fellow German sportswear brand Puma, "which has been Feyenoord's apparel sponsor" since the '09-10 season (SOCCEREX, 9/9). ... EPL club Sunderland has formed a partnership with NIP+MAN "in a deal that represents the first move into sports sponsorship for the new brand." Terms of the deal were not disclosed, "but NIP+MAN will become Sunderland's official male grooming partner" (SOCCEREX, 9/9). ... GlaxoSmithKline "agreed on Monday to sell two soft drink brands to Suntory Beverage and Food of Japan" for £1.35B ($2.1B). The sale of the brands, Lucozade and Ribena, is part of an overhaul as the company "tries to spin off noncore products so that it can focus on its main pharmaceutical business." Lucozade "is an energy drink that is promoted by" football player Gareth Bale (N.Y. TIMES, 9/9). ... ManU and U.K.-based credit card specialist MBNA have launched a series of limited edition credit cards to celebrate the extension of their partnership into '16. Every fan applying for a new ManU Credit Card can select one of four specially commissioned designs (MBNA). ... Cambodia-based hire purchase firm Group Lease Finance "is the latest business enterprise to support as co-sponsors" the Cambodian national tennis team. This second tier of backing for the Tennis Federation of Cambodia, behind main sponsors NagaWorld, "follows Coca-Cola Cambodia jumping on board as partners two weeks ago" (PHNOM PENH POST, 9/9).