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Volume 6 No. 215

Marketing and Sponsorship

Motorsports governing body FIA has written to F1 team principals "assuring them they have no intention of tendering for a sole fuel supplier despite a recent announcement raising the possibility," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Leading teams "derive substantial sponsorship from oil companies" -- such as Shell, Total, Malaysia's Petronas and Venezuelan state-owned PDVSA -- and any move "to limit the sport to one supplier would be a big hit to team budgets." Concern was raised after FIA said last week that "a new 'Concorde Agreement' governing the sport would give it responsibility for conducting tenders for tyres and fuel." A FIA F1 spokesperson said, "Fuel was mentioned purely for illustrative purposes. There are no plans at present to have a fuel tender." McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh said, "We knew nothing about it (a possible fuel tender) until it emerged (after the FIA's World Motor Sport Council)." He added, "Look at the post-tobacco era and probably one of the biggest sectors of investors into the sport is the petro-chemical industry. You wouldn't want to jeopardize that, so commercially it doesn't make sense (to have a sole supplier)" (REUTERS, 10/3).

The Scottish Professional Football League "has signed a new sponsorship deal with Irn Bru believed to be worth a 'substantial six-figure sum,'" according to Chris McLaughlin of the BBC. The figure for Scottish-based beverage company AG Barr for their beverage to become the league's official soft drink "was confirmed by a SPFL source." But the league "is continuing its search for a main sponsor." SPFL CEO Neil Doncaster said, "It is a very positive sign to the market that such a strong brand has invested in the new SPFL set-up." Doncaster revealed "the search for a title sponsor of the Scottish Professional Football League and League Cup continues but refused to put a time scale on any announcement." He said, "We remain in discussions with a number of different bodies around League title sponsorship and also League Cup sponsorship" (BBC, 10/3). In Glasgow, Gregor Kyle reported the agreement between AG Barr and the SPFL "means that IRN-BRU’s long-standing association with the national game will continue, having already enjoyed six years as title sponsor of the Scottish Football League" (DAILY RECORD, 10/3).

Tennis player Andy Murray "has hired a branding agency to create a personalised logo that will appear on his apparel and associated merchandise," according to Gemma Charles of MARKETING MAGAZINE. Aesop "has been hired after a competitive eight-way pitch to create an identity for the Wimbledon champion." It is understood that "it will be incorporated into a new adidas range and across his accessories, such as his Head racquets." Murray follows in the footsteps of Roger Federer, who "unveiled his own logo, a combination of his initials, back in 2006 at Wimbledon." Aesop "is also creating the brand identity for Murray’s new management company, 77." Its name "is inspired by the fact that Murray’s victory in June was the first time in 77 years that a British man had won the Wimbledon title, and that it occurred on the seventh day of the seventh month" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 10/3).

New research has revealed nearly three-quarters of Scottish consumers "are unable to identify a single sponsor of next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow," according to Alex Brownsell of MARKETING MAGAZINE. The report by YouGov reveals 73% of adults in Scotland "are oblivious to the identities of the brands backing the Games." Of the official sponsors, energy company SSE "is correctly identified by 16% of Scots, with other sponsors such as Emirates (13%) and Virgin Media (7%) receiving even lower recognition levels." Also, a quarter of Scots "mistakenly believe that RBS is an official sponsor, while nearly one in five (19%) believe Highlands Spring is an official supporter of the event." Apart from drinks manufacturer AG Barr, "which 15% correctly identify as an official supporter, each of the eight other official supporters have 4% or less awareness" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 10/3).

Back in June, prior to finishing second in the San Francisco Marathon, Dubai runner Ismail Ssenyange "was a security guard living in the Sonapur labour camp accommodation and struggling to make his passion and livelihood meet," according to Jaydip Sengupta of GULF NEWS. Ssenyange "has seen his life change beyond recognition after XPRESS carried the story of his incredible achievement." The Ugandan is now a sales exec and brand ambassador for Sketchers Middle East, "draws four times his previous salary and has moved out from his labour camp accommodation to an apartment at International City." Sketchers also pays for "his kits, his training, his events, and his travel." Ssenyange: "It's a dream-come-true for me." With his new job requiring him to promote a sports shoe brand, "Ssenyange feels right at home." Ssenyange: "All I need to do is run well and get the results and the brand gets promoted by itself. It's been quite a revelation doing all the promotional work around an event" (GULF NEWS, 10/2).

EPL side Everton has "unveiled the club's new crest which will be used from next season onwards," according to Elliott Bretland of the London DAILY MAIL. Having faced a backlash from fans after changing the club's badge in May without much consultation, the Merseyside club "revealed three new badges for fans to vote on last month." Design A "has come out on top with 78% of the vote after around 13,000 supporters took part in the voting process." Introducing a simplified, more modern crest for the '13-14 campaign toward the end of last season, the club "angered fans by controversially dropping the club's famous Latin motto Nil Satis Nisi Optimum, which translates to Nothing But The Best Is Good Enough." Everton admitted its "mistake this summer and after consultation with the club's supporters, the motto was included in all three of the new designs" (DAILY MAIL, 10/3).

A new Virgin Money analysis revealed fans of British football clubs in the Champions League are beating many of the European giants, at least in terms of replica shirt prices. Average replica shirt costs for all 32 clubs in the Champions League group stages are £62 ($100) -- while the four English clubs are 15% cheaper at an average £52.50 ($85), with Scotland’s only representative, Celtic, coming in 11% below the average at £55 ($89). The cheapest replica shirts on offer belong to Portuguese side Benfica, which charges fans just £25 ($40) while fans of Turkey’s Galatasaray pay around £42 ($68). However, supporters of Russia’s Zenit St. Petersburg have to fork out £87 ($141) for a shirt, with fans of FC Basel of Switzerland being charged more than £81 ($131). The relative good news for English and Scottish clubs underlines the fact that these clubs are doing something to control prices, although Virgin Money’s Football Fans Inflation Index -- which has tracked domestic prices since '06 -- shows football inflation running at 3%, compared to the Consumer Price Index at 2.7% (Virgin Money).

The cheapest replica shirts in the Champions League are shown below:

Club Replica shirt price
Benfica £25.01
Galatasaray £41.82
Viktoria Plzen £42.14
CSKA Moscow £48.34
Chelsea £49.99
Arsenal £50
Bayern Munich £50.15
Olympiakos £50.19
Celtic/ManU/Man City £55

The 10 most expensive replica shirts in the Champions League are shown below:

Club Replica shirt price
Zenit St. Petersburg £87.16
FC Basel £81.27
Steau Bucharest £78.51
Shakthar Donetsk £76.40
Juventus £71.11
Paris St Germain £71.11
Porto £71.11
Barcelona £71.10
Atletico Madrid £67.76
Real Madrid £66.93

English Lacrosse has signed a three-year partnership with Under Armour. Team England Men will be the first beneficiaries of the deal, as they prepare for the 2014 Men's Lacrosse World Championships in Denver (English Lacrosse). ... The 28th Southeast Asian Games "may be some two years away, but organisers are already deep into discussions with companies looking to sponsor the region's largest multi-sport extravaganza which will take place during Singapore's 50th anniversary year." While organizers have set their sights on attracting some S$50M ($40M) in both cash and value-in-kind sponsorships, organizers "highlighted that forging long term partnerships with businesses beyond the games is also a key priority" (STRAITS TIMES, 10/3). ... Paddy Power renewed "its long association with the Home of Jump Racing," which started in '03. In a three-year deal, the Irish bookmaker "will be the title sponsor of the second day, The Paddy Power Open Saturday." In addition, it "will continue to sponsor a race on the Friday, the Handicap Chase, and as well as the feature race on the Saturday, the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup," worth £160,000 ($259,000) and run over an extended two and a half miles (SKY SPORTS, 10/1).