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Volume 10 No. 22

Marketing and Sponsorship

Viagogo, which will launch in Australia this week to take on eBay and Gumtree, is partnering with Australian Football League clubs Collingwood and Richmond "as part of its marketing strategy to build awareness and trust in the marketplace," according to Rosie Baker of AD NEWS. As a secondary ticketing service that allows consumers to resell unwanted tickets back to the public, it "does not operate in exactly the same space as primary ticket sellers such as Ticketek and claims it is 'inventing a new category.'" The pillars of its marketing and brand strategy in the Australian market "are building awareness of its services and trust in the legitimacy of its offer." One of its key marketing messages "is the 100% guarantee it offers buyers that use the platform to purchase resold event tickets." Viagogo CEO Eric Baker said that the partnerships with Richmond and Collingwood "lend legitimacy to the launch," as well as marketing opportunities "to target users using data and forge ongoing relationships, promotions and incentives as well as competitions and exclusive experiences" (AD NEWS, 9/18).

Telecom company Bharti Airtel, which is the title sponsor of India's home int'l cricket matches, "has refused to extend its contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India," according Vijay Tagore of the MUMBAI MIRROR. Airtel "had a three-year deal which ended in April this year." The contract was worth Rs 3.3 crore ($521,000) for every int'l fixture. Sources within the BCCI have revealed that Airtel "was not interested in renewing the arrangement." There was a three-month window for both parties for negotiating an extension but "apparently the talks have not materialised." A BCCI official said, "We've tried to negotiate with Airtel but they did not look too keen on renewal." Sources said that the BCCI "has called a meeting of its marketing committee" on Thursday. The meeting "will kick-start the process of search for a new sponsor and will call for a tender." The BCCI "has advised the state associations hosting the India-Australia series next month to go ahead and print tickets without the name of the title sponsor" (MUMBAI MIRROR, 9/18).

Superleague Greece side Olympiakos has "pulled out of its sponsorship deal" with lottery and sports betting operator OPAP SA, according to Panos Bletsos of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. The club made the decision soon after OPAP "changed ownership." OPAP "has been the sponsor kings of the Greek game for more than half a century." The Greek government agreed to sell its controlling stake of 33% in OPAP to Czech-Greek joint venture Emma Delta Ltd., "as the sole bidder in the auction's final stage raised its offer" to €652M ($870M). The Emma Delta fund is controlled by Emma Capital Founder Jirí Šmejc (66.7%) and son of AEK Owner Dimitris Melissanidis, Yorgos Melissanidis (33.3%). It "was a move which sparked the reaction of Olympiakos," which accused the 62-year-old businessman "of preferential treatment to long-standing rivals AEK." OPAP's sponsorship offer of €1.9M ($2.5M) per year has "seemingly infuriated" Olympiakos, which "had penned a deal" estimated at €2.1M ($2.8M) (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/18).

The Malaysian national women’s field hockey team received a RM600,000 ($185,500) "sponsorship deal for the Asia Cup hockey tournament, which begins this Saturday at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil," according to THE STAR. Construction company Semai Ria Sdn Bhd will contribute RM500,000 ($154,600) while the Youth & Sports Ministry will chip in RM100,000 ($30,900). The half a million ringgit "is the largest sponsorship that the national women’s hockey team have ever received from the private sector." Eight teams will be featured in the eighth edition of the Asia Cup. Malaysia is in Group A with defending champions China, India and Hong Kong while Group B comprises Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Kazakhstan (THE STAR, 9/17).

The Lawn Tennis Association has announced a four-year extension to its partnership with global financial services business BNP Paribas. The extension will see BNP Paribas remain the sponsor of the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club in London, in a partnership which began in '08 (LTA). ... Nike, the official kit sponsor of the Indian cricket team, "has launched" a new uniform for the India-Australia limited over series next month (PTI, 9/18). ... German golfer Martin Kaymer "will end his partnership with BMW at the end of September." The 28-year-old "has forced the early termination of his brand-ambassador contract with the Munich-based car manufacturer." The deal, which was supposed to run through '14, "will now end on Sept. 30." Kaymer: "We have recently held intensive discussions on the future direction of the partnership. During those discussions, we've realized that our long-term interests are heading in different directions" (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 9/18). ... Bundesliga club Bayern Munich has extended its partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts for another three years until '16 (Bayern Munich). ... German Hockey League (DEL) club Hamburg Freezers has renewed its sponsorship deal with Slovenian appliance manufacturer Gorenje for the '13-14 season. The company will continue to be featured on boards at home games at the O2 World Hamburg (Hamburg Freezers). ... HSBC "ruled out rescuing the stricken Singapore Open and said they would not sponsor any more tournaments in Asia." HSBC's sponsorship chief said it already had a "perfect balance" of golf events in the region (AFP, 9/18). ... Quick-Step Cycling team has renewed its contract with Omega Pharma through '15 (Quick-Step). ... Clifford Chance has been appointed the official law firm of the Rugby World Cup 2015 for the next two years (LEGAL WEEK, 9/18).