Puma has "ended its contract to sponsor the South African national football team after less than two years because of match-fixing allegations," according to REUTERS. The loss of a major sponsor is "a further blow" after the 2010 World Cup hosts "failed to qualify for next year's World Cup in Brazil." A FIFA report last year alleged the results of South Africa's pre-World Cup matches against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala leading up the '10 finals "were fixed." Puma, which took over the sponsorship from German rival adidas in '12, "was critical" of the way the South African Football Association dealt with the claims (REUTERS, 10/17). The BBC reported former SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani, who lost his post in last month's elections, and four fellow officials "were suspended" in '12 before "being reinstated a month later pending further investigation'' (BBC, 10/17). The INDEPENDENT ONLINE reported it was "a second sponsorship blow" for South Africa this week. Earlier this week, the Soccer-Laduma website reported that financial service provider Absa "would not renew their sponsorship of the Bafana Bafana side once the current deal expires in December" (INDEPENDENT ONLINE, 10/17).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Former GM Global CMO Joel Ewanick on Tuesday said that signing the sponsorship deal between Chevrolet and ManU "that ultimately led to his ouster last year was a 'no-brainer,'" according to Ryan Beene of AUTOMOTIVE NEWS. Ewanick, in his first public remarks about his July '12 ouster, said that it was "clear that the deal would bring Chevrolet increased brand exposure, purchase consideration and awareness around the world worth 'over four times' the sponsorship's cost," which sources have pegged at $600M over seven years. Ewanick was dismissed "within weeks" of the deal's announcement. Sources later said that "improper handling of the deal led to Ewanick's firing." Ewanick said, "The way this was going to work over time, I would say that for the amount of money we were talking about, it was the biggest no-brainer I've seen." The ManU sponsorship is "one of the few major initiatives from Ewanick's tenure that has stuck at GM." Within days of his dismissal, GM "expanded the partnership to include the right for Chevrolet to display its logo on the team's jerseys, which was not part of the original agreement that Ewanick inked." Ewanick's charge at the company "included consolidating what GM spent on marketing globally and reallocating resources to be more efficient." The ManU deal was "the result of GM looking for more efficient ways to spend its marketing dollars" (AUTONEWS, 10/16).
Online ticket provider viagogo announced a new partnership with Scottish Rugby. Viagogo will sponsor this year's November int'l matches at Murrayfield, which will be branded the viagogo Autumn Tests. The matches will take place against Japan on Nov. 9, South Africa on Nov. 17 and Australia on Nov. 23. Tickets are now available on viagogo's website (viagogo). ... The ATP announced a multi-year sponsorship with Mercedes-Benz, making the carmaker a platinum sponsor of the ATP World Tour Finals, held at London's O2 arena Nov. 4-11. Mercedes-Benz will provide cars for transportation during the tournament (ATP). ... Ecuadorean footballer Felipe Caicedo on Wednesday presented a new line of clothing bearing his name. The clothing line is for men, women and children and will be distributed by Marathon Sports (EL UNIVERSO, 10/16).