Williams F1 Deputy Principal Claire Williams said that the team "will end its tie-up with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA" at the close of the F1 season after driver Pastor Maldonado's departure from the team, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. At the presentation of Brazilian Felipe Massa, currently with Ferrari, as Maldonado's replacement on a multi-year deal, Williams said, "It (the branding) won't be on the car for next year. There is no (further) connection with PDVSA as obviously Pastor is now leaving the team." Maldonado "has been backed by the oil giant throughout his career and his sponsorship millions have been eagerly sought by other teams." Williams said that "the driver had taken the decision to look elsewhere." Maldonado has been linked to Lotus, which has "been waiting for months to secure promised new investment from a consortium whose money has been slow in coming through, as well as cash-strapped Sauber and Force India." The Venezuelan money made up a significant part of the Williams budget "but sources indicated the team will be sheltered from any immediate impact by highly favourable severance terms." Williams: "I think when our numbers come out next year, people will see what has actually gone on behind the scenes with this whole arrangement" (REUTERS, 11/11).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Barcelona has extended to '16 a deal with UNICEF under which the La Liga side pays $2M a year "to display the name of the United Nations Children's Fund" on the back of its shirts, according to Iain Rogers of REUTERS. The current agreement "was due to expire next year and the Barca directors approved a two-year extension at a board meeting on Tuesday." Barcelona and UNICEF first joined forces in '06 "and Barca's Argentine World Player of the Year Lionel Messi is one of the fund's global goodwill ambassadors." The club used to have the UNICEF name on the front of its shirts, which made it "one of the few sides in football not to display a corporate logo" (REUTERS, 11/11).
Polish Ekstraklasa champion Legia Warsaw "has signed up betting group Fortuna as its new main sponsor" and has extended its partnership with adidas, according to SOCCEREX. Fortuna has agreed to a "three-year deal" beginning in January. Fortuna's branding will be featured "on the front of Legia's home and away shirts, and it will also benefit from a presence at the team's Pepsi Arena home, in club publications and on its official website." Fortuna "replaces printing products company ActiveJet, which served as Legia Warsaw's main sponsor for the past two years." Meanwhile, Legia has extended its technical partnership with adidas until the end of June '17 "in a deal the club has said is the most lucrative kit contract in the history of the Polish game." Adidas "will continue as the team's kit manufacturer and, under expanded terms, it will provide a range of clothing and equipment to the Legia Warsaw Academy" (SOCCEREX, 11/12).
The Australia Football League's richest clubs will ''shout'' the poorer ones with "a centralised sports drinks deal forming part of the league's new equalisation measures for next year," according to Michael Gleeson of THE AGE. The AFL "has signed a new deal with Coca-Cola for next year which splits the previous soft drink sponsorship into separate deals for sports drinks, soft drinks and water." Previously the one deal "covered the lot." The carve up into different deals "has increased the total amount available, generating new funds which are being redistributed back to the smaller clubs." The drinks deal "is the second pillar of the new equalisation arrangements along with the gate levy" -- A$1 ($0.93) for children and A$2 for adults as walk-ups at some games -- coming in for season '14. The two deals "are supposed to generate" between A$7M and A$8M for next year -- the AFL's "target amount" for '14 (THE AGE, 11/13).
Saudi Telecom "has concluded its second major football sponsorship deal in the space of a week after signing a five-year extension to its agreement" with ManU, according to SOCCEREX. The deal, covering the '13-14 to '17-18 seasons, "will allow the Saudi-based company to evolve from an official telecommunications partner to 'official triple play partner,' covering Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait, while also holding triple play rights in Turkey for the first year of the agreement." As official triple play partner, STC will bring ManU’s "dedicated television channel, MUTV, to the Gulf region for the first time with the exclusive rights to distribute MUTV via its television, online and mobile services in these territories." STC has partnered with the EPL champion since '08. STC’s ManU deal "comes after the company on Friday signed a five-year extension to its sponsorship contract with Real Madrid," also from '13-14 to '17-18 (SOCCEREX, 11/12).
Motorcycle manufacturer Hero Motocorp Ltd. "announced its association with the Junior Hockey World Cup," to be held in New Dehli, as the title sponsor. Hero Motocorp is an Int'l Field Hockey Federation (FIH) partner and the title sponsor for all FIH events taking place in India until the end of '15 (PTI, 11/12). ... Int'l healthcare group Bupa's "partnership with UK Sport is set to continue until March." The partnership gives Bupa access to UK Sport's Athlete Medical Scheme, "which provides extensive medical insurance to support elite athletes in their recovery from illness and injury" (POST ONLINE, 11/12). ... Gym Direct has come on board as a National Rugby League Sharks corporate partner for the '14 season. As part of the arrangement, equipment will be provided to the Sharks High Performance Unit for use by the NRL (NRL Sharks). ... F1 team McLaren "looks set to delay the announcement of its new title sponsor for 2014 until the launch of its car next year" (ESPN, 11/12).