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Volume 6 No. 215

Marketing and Sponsorship

With public money for the 2016 Rio Olympics "getting tougher to find," Brazilian organizers are "scrambling to raise record amounts of local sponsorship revenue to cover any budget shortfall and avoid a government handout," according to Stephen Wade of the AP. Rio Olympics CCO Renato Ciuchini said that his "new goal" is to generate between $1.3B and $1.5B in domestic sponsorship income. This "would double what's been sold to date" -- $650M -- and "easily surpass" the $1.1B raised for the 2012 London Olympics. Ciuchini: "I may have this calm face but there is a lot of pressure here. There is no question about it. Our target is very high. ... We are increasing the team. We are bringing in a lot of senior guys to the team." Ciuchini said $1.5B "was the level at which government aid might not be needed to meet the Olympic budget." He added with "luck," he might raise even more (AP, 11/6).

British tennis star Andy Murray again shuffled his management team this week, bringing on board Lagardère for commercial deals. Lagardère replaces Mahesh Bhuphati, the highly ranked doubles player who briefly managed Murray’s commercial business. Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, which for years handled Murray’s commercial business and recently shifted to strategy, will indirectly stay involved. Fuller remains as a non-exec director of 77, the company that Murray formed after winning Wimbledon in July, becoming the first British man to do so in 77 years. Tennis insiders said IMG made a strong push for Murray’s business, widely seen as undersold, but lost out to Lagardère, which has been wooing Murray for several years. Murray last year spurned Lagardère and IMG when he shuffled his management team. He dropped CAA, which handled only his on-court affairs, and formed a venture with Fuller and Bhuphati called XIX/Globosport. That venture quickly fizzled out. Murray has four significant deals, including adidas and Head. The racket deal ends next year and adidas is up in '15. He also has deals with watch company Rado and RBS. Matt Gentry, the former XIX exec who runs 77, said Murray hoped to brand himself not just in the U.K., but in the U.S. and Asia, as well. Lagardère has made a niche in the U.S. representing American players, who may not be on top of the sport but are the best the U.S. has to offer. These players include No. 14-ranked John Isner and No. 47 Sam Querrey. The company also represents Victoria Azarenka, the No. 2-ranked WTA singles player, as well as the Bryan brothers. John Tobias, who runs the tennis group at Lagardère, will handle Murray’s business, along with Gawain Davies, who joined Lagardère from IMG this year. He was VP of IMG’s tennis division. He will remain based in Barcelona. Ugo Colombini, an Italian tennis agent, will manage Murray’s tennis exhibition business.

With London 2012 slowly receding into the past, and the next wave of global sporting events such as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games imminent, it is time to "consider the state of ambush, or guerrilla, marketing in the sports world," according to David Atkinson of the HUFFINGTON POST. There is no doubt "the threat of these aggressive marketing tactics loomed ominously over those involved in London 2012, but the Olympics also formed a landmark in the way that guerrilla marketing was managed for major global events. " There "are two kinds of guerrilla marketing." The first comes from smaller, "occasionally controversial brands with comparatively small budgets trying to afford some of the glory of the bigger players." Think "Paddy Power." Then there are the major global brands, "where there are just two competitors in any given market." Both "will be competing for the same audience, but only one is able to command the official partner or sponsor status" -- think Coke/Pepsi, Nike/adidas etc. There is a third element to consider in guerrilla marketing -- "when brand activities cross the line from association into endorsement, and non-sponsors try to pass themselves off as having official status." This "was the biggest concern of the Olympics." What next "for guerrilla marketing?" What "can we expect in Brazil and Glasgow next year?" One thing "is certain: as the cost of holding big ticket events such as the Olympics and World Cup continues to grow; sponsor presence will continue." Where there are sponsors, "there are brands that want a slice of the action." 2012 was a watershed moment -- "brands using guerrilla marketing avoided the backstreet tactics and earned a little more respect for remaining on the right side of the line" (HUFFINGTON POST, 11/6).

Combined with the start of the 17-day-long 2014 Sochi Olympics, some big brands like Subway "are choosing to opt out of the biggest night in TV" -- the Super Bowl, according to Richard Feloni of the NATIONAL POST. Subway CMO Tony Pace told Ad Age, "You can make an argument that the total cumulative audience across the Winter Olympics is actually bigger than what you are going to get in the Super Bowl." Nielsen reported that 108.4 million people watched the Super Bowl last year, with 90% of the audience in the U.S. The 2010 Vancouver Olympics drew an average of 24.4 million primetime viewers, and had 190 million people watch some of the games on one of NBC Universal’s networks, according to NBC. Real estate agency Century 21, which advertised in the past two big games, told Ad Age that "they would rather make an investment in an international audience." And is "skipping the upcoming Super Bowl after six consecutive years" because they "don’t have a new campaign to justify the price tag" (NATIONAL POST, 11/5).

Stanley Black & Decker has been named the new partner of the Chinese Basketball Association beginning with the '13-14 season. The deal was signed with Infront Sports & Media and runs through the '16-17 season. This marks Stanley's first major sports sponsorship in China. Stanley will be involved with all 306 games of the regular season, the All-Star game and the playoffs. The deal includes LED advertising, player appearances, image rights and logo usage. The company's brands will also be featured in all official CBA league communications and promotional materials (Stanley).

Online video firm Base79 announced a partnership with Paris St. Germain to manage its video content on YouTube at a global and local level. The deal will allow PSG to create, grow and effectively monetize its online video content. Base79 will use its audience-understanding technology to create new videos. Base79's other partners include Aston Villa, the FA, IMG Worldwide, the French Football Federation, Premiership Rugby, the WTA, the ITF, Sport Relief, Giro D'Italia, Rally Cross, the GT1 Series and the Scottish FA (Base79).

Australian Football League side Collingwood's 14-year relationship with key sponsor Emirates "is at a crossroads, after the Magpies more than tripled the asking price to extend the airline's uniform deal with the club," according to Mark Hawthorne of THE AGE. Club President Eddie McGuire and Operations Manager David Emerson "flew to Dubai earlier this year and met key executives at the airline, including Boutros Boutros, the senior vice-president of corporate communications." McGuire "presented a range of sponsorship options, all of which included increased benefits for Emirates," but the airline has balked at the A$3.5M ($3.3M) asking price. Boutros said, "'We are in negotiations with Collingwood and those negotiations are continuing this week." Asked directly if Emirates would consider ending its long-term relationship with the Magpies, Boutros replied, ''We are very happy with our relationship with Collingwood … but I think there needs to be a realisation that Australian rules football does not have international exposure, and that … limits how much a deal is worth.'' McGuire "laughed when asked if negotiations with Emirates had derailed over the high price Collingwood is asking." He said, ''It's getting to the pointy end of the deal and the steak knives always come out at this time. I have great admiration for Boutros and Emirates and am sure we can get a deal done" (THE AGE, 11/7).

Adidas on Wednesday denied its interest in "getting involved with a possible Lionel Messi transfer during the summer." Adidas said in a statement, "Adidas' relationships with its sponsored players are only for advertising. Any athletic decision is solely up to the athlete and his advisers. His team has nothing to do with this" (SPORT, 11/6). ... Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg has signed a new partnership deal with Swiss tourism association Heidiland. The three-year deal will provide Heidiland with ad space on LED boards as well as several promotional opportunities. In addition, the team will travel to Bad Ragaz for its summer training camp over the next three years (VfL Wolfsburg). ... Premier League sponsor Barclays has continued its "#YouAreFootball" campaign by launching a commercial "praising the fans in more than 200 countries who follow the EPL" (MARCA, 11/6).