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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale "is on the verge of signing another multi-million pound contract" less than three weeks after he became the world’s most expensive footballer, according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. Adidas, with whom Bale has been associated since he was 16, is "hopeful" that Bale "will agree a long-term extension to his boot deal and personal sponsorship." Bale’s six-figure agreement "has surprisingly been allowed to run down into its final year." Adidas "had been uncertain" whether to make Bale its marquee player while he was not in the Champions League, or at the World Cup with Wales. All that "has changed," especially since adidas supplies Real Madrid’s shirts. Adidas is "now prepared to pay what it takes to keep Bale out of the clutches of Nike," which has Cristiano Ronaldo as its "poster boy." An adidas source said, "We are confident that we can keep Gareth, who has always been very loyal to the brand. But the deal has to be right for both of us. It helps that we have the experience of handling David Beckham when he was at Real Madrid" (DAILY MAIL, 9/18).

German Hockey League (DEL) club Grizzly Adams EHC Wolfsburg has created a new sponsorship level, "Business Club," which targets small and medium-sized businesses. Through the Business Club, companies will be able to enter a sponsorship deal with the team starting at an annual fee of €499 ($675). In return, the sponsors will receive the right to use the club logo and the title "Partner im Business Club der Grizzly Adams" (Business Club Partner of the Grizzly Adams). In addition, the companies will get VIP single-game tickets, their logos will be featured on the Business Club board at the arena and several other ad and marketing measures (Grizzly Adams).

ManU announced regional sponsorship agreements with Commercial Bank of Qatar and Emirates NBD Bank. The banking firms have signed five-year deals that will see them become the club's official financial service partners in their respective countries. As part of the separate agreements, both organizations will have the rights to produce ManU branded credit, debit and prepaid cards. Emirates NBD Bank will also market its own ManU savings account (ManU).

Advertisers in Asia "are gearing up" to spend billions of dollars on sports sponsorships in '14, which makes the inaugural Sports Matters conference "a timely one," according to Byravee Iyer of CAMPAIGN ASIA. ManU APAC Managing Dir Jamie Reigle "talked about the football club's business objectives in the region." He "stressed that" ManU's model is "to drive top line through sponsorships, partnerships, media and merchandising licensing products." Coca-Cola Global Dir of Alliances and Ventures Prinz Matthew Pinakatt discussed "topics ranging from creative disruption to value creation and mass sponsorship for niche audiences." Pinakett "emphasized that partnerships at Coca-Cola are driven by brand needs rather than by money." He cited the example of the company's choice to pick F1 to promote its "challenger," energy brand Burn. He also "predicted that social media would determine the future of sports." Pinakett: "Fans are taking control of sports and we need to tailor their experiences." Increasingly, he "believes that new ideas, grassroots programs and even new sports will come from fans." Brands "need to tap into that and nurture it." Sports Matters also "witnessed the launch of Asian Sponsorship Association." Branded CEO Jasper Donat said, "It will inject the much needed vibrancy and sophistication to this sector to help energize event partners and sports associations in Asia to boost their appeal and gather more momentum and support for their events and activities." HSBC Group Head of Sponsorships and Events Giles Morgan said that there is "huge growth potential for sport in Asia." Morgan: "A real opportunity exists for countries in Asia -- as economic growth continues -- to stage more world-class events. Countries like China, Singapore and India can utilize sport to highlight and showcase themselves on the world stage" (CAMPAIGN ASIA, 9/19).

The Rugby Football Union "has revealed that Heathrow Express is to be the new official principal partner of the England Sevens teams." Their logo "will now appear on the front of both the men’s and women’s playing shirts as part of a four-year deal," which also sees the company "become the official transport partner of the England Sevens teams" (RUNNING RUGBY, 9/19). ... FC Barcelona unveiled its third kit of the season, an "all-black number" (FOOTBALL ESPANA, 9/19). ... Malaysian property developer MK Land "has come on board to support the 41st edition of the Selangor Amateur Open Golf," which will be played at the Rahman Putra Golf Club on Oct. 1-3. MK Land "is supporting the event to a tune of" RM30,000 ($9,500) (THE STAR, 9/18). ... The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Thursday "invited bids for the title sponsorship rights" of the BCCI's int'l and domestic matches after telecom Airtel "decided not to renew its contract." BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement, "The Board of Control for Cricket in India has published an ITT (Invitation to Tender) for Title Sponsorship rights for BCCI international and domestic matches for the period October 2013 to 31st March 2014" (PTI, 9/19). ... League Two Exeter City has signed JMC Group as a shirt sponsor. The company's logo will appear on the back of the club's jersey (Exeter City).