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Volume 10 No. 25

Marketing and Sponsorship

PepsiCo Chair and CEO Indra Nooyi said that the controversies associated with the Indian Premier League are "unfortunate" but Pepsi will continue to be the title sponsor of T20 league, according to the PTI. Nooyi said, "Now if IPL went through controversies, it's unfortunate. Nobody likes any sport tainted at all because sport is supposed to be above all of it. But again it is being addressed." Terming IPL as a "phenomenal marketing vehicle," she said that "the company hopes that issues related with the tournament would be addressed." Nooyi: "So our hope is that something wonderful as IPL is not impacted due to those issues and we hope it would get addressed." When asked if the company would continue to be associated with the tournament, Nooyi said, "I am going to look at the positives. We do not associate with the sport hoping that some thing goes wrong and we do not want anything to go wrong. We associate with IPL because we think cricket is like next to God in the country" (PTI, 11/12).

Ferrari Motor Sport Communications Head Renato Bisignani said that the Italian team’s consistency in competing for a championship year in and year out “is vital” in attracting sponsorships. “The privilege of working for Ferrari is the huge attraction and media interest surrounding the brand whether you win or not," Bisignani told SBD Global at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin. "In Formula One it is very, very difficult to win a championship, but it’s more difficult to be able to constantly fight for a championship. That consistency is vital. Yes, it offers visibility to our partners, but partners that engage with Ferrari, I think, want more than just visibility.” The Scuderia Ferrari F1 team currently has 23 sponsors, suppliers and partners that include brands like Shell, Santander and Philip Morris. Such big name brands, Bisignani said, are attracted to both Ferrari’s rich history and its competitiveness, as it has finished outside the top three in the constructors’ championship only twice in the last 20 years.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THEM: While Ferrari’s on-track consistency is key in attracting new partners, it is sponsorships that provide the team with the necessary funds to race. Bisignani: “[Sponsorships are] very important. They are fundamental because our racing activities are entirely self-financed through sponsorships, and on top of that we obviously have the revenue generated from TV and commercial rights as part of the prize fund from the commercial rights holder, Formula One Group. So they are vital to enable us to go racing, and on top of that we have a very specific commercial strategy to follow with a few, but very important brands.” According to Forbes, Scuderia Ferrari had a race budget of $260M in '11 with title sponsor Philip Morris alone paying $160M.

ONE-TWO PUNCH: This commercial strategy is based on Ferrari’s two worlds, the racing side and the luxury road car production side. Ferrari’s racing activities provide a strong sponsorship platform for brands to obviously gain visibility and engage with their consumers on a worldwide basis, whether in Formula One or across our 360-degree range of offers, Bisignani said. The road car production side, on the other hand, speaks to high-end, premium customers, which are Ferrari clients. Ferrari uses different logos for the two segments. Bisignani said, “The prancing horse alone refers to our GT and more lifestyle and premium activities. For example, we have a very vast licensing portfolio of partners, and we offer them the opportunity to develop more high premium products using one kind of brand.” However, Ferrari’s motorsports logo, which it calls Scudetto, can be found on fan products that are priced at a lower level. Bisignani: “It offers a very different range of opportunities that enables us to target companies that, at the end of the day share our same values: innovation, technology and passion.”

As Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar "gets ready to bid adieu to active cricket, Mumbai's cityscape has been decorated with farewell messages to the batting maestro in various forms, shapes and sizes," according to the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. From hoardings to banners, the city is splattered with "goodbye Sachin" messages. It is "not only the big guns" who are doing their bit to bid farewell to the country's "favourite batsman." Localities in Mumbai "are seen hanging banners and posters saluting the legend." Brands that have been associated with the cricket legend "have found ways to pay tribute to him through special campaigns and events." While adidas will be launching the campaign SRT Forever to commemorate Sachin's innings in cricket, Aviva Life Insurance "will be concluding its ongoing marketing campaign 'What's your big plan' after Tendulkar's retirement." Other brands such as Toshiba and Royal Bank of Scotland "have also launched marketing campaigns to coincide with Tendulkar's last series." Coke said that "it will take up advertising slots during Tendulkar's penultimate and final test matches." However, company execs said that "they have no Tendulkar-specific campaigns lined up for these matches." The broadcaster and title sponsor of Tendulkar's last test series, STAR India, too, "hopped on to the wagon and went all out to engage Tendulkar fans all over the globe so that they can bid farewell to their hero." For STAR India, "it also means big advertising revenues," since it holds the exclusive media rights to all int'l cricket matches played in India. A media buyer involved with brands advertising during the match said, "Given the craze behind Tendulkar, it will definitely be one of the most watched events of the year if not decade and advertisers will not mind shelling out extra bucks to advertise during the match." Other media houses "also did their bit." TV Today Group "held the Salaam Sachin India Today Conclave" that saw participation from Sachin's brother, Ajit Tendulkar, India Today consulting editor Boria Majumdar and  cricketers Suresh Raina Javagal Srinath, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar (BUSINESS STANDARD, 11/14). In N.Y., Huw Richards wrote when tickets for Tendulkar's 200th and final five-day test match went on sale on Monday, "19.7 million hits within the first hour crashed the website selling them." That overwhelming demand to see Tendulkar's final test, which starts Thursday in Mumbai, "testified to his unmatched standing in India as both a sports and a cultural hero." In a profile of Tendulkar, American writer Mike Marqusee wrote on the ESPN Cricinfo website in '02, "Jordan, Woods and Beckham may cross more boundaries, but nowhere do those players carry the weight of expectation that Tendulkar carries in India." Much of Tendulkar's greatness "comes from his ability to consistently fulfill those vast expectations." Few players "have left so comprehensive a mark in the record books" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/13).

TENDULKAR'S LEGACY: In London, Matthew Engel wrote "all political careers end in failure, goes the old saying." The same "is even more true of sporting careers." They end "after the player’s body has stopped doing what the brain tells it." If not, "the player has gone too soon and failed to fulfil their full potential." Tendulkar will retire from cricket within the week, "after playing his 200th Test match for India, against West Indies in Mumbai." Even "if he is out for a golden duck in both innings and drops six catches, failure will not be in the national vocabulary." There will be arguments about Tendulkar’s place in cricket history, "perhaps more so in the future than now." Time is needed to lend perspective, which will not be on offer in Mumbai this week: the number of Google references linking "Tendulkar" and "god" has risen to 14.5 million. Tendulkar "is not the greatest cricketer of all time." But his longevity at the top "has beggared belief." Yet, amid the clamor of India, "he has been the still, small figure at the eye of the storm." Every time he batted, "the weight of expectation was ludicrous." India, which is internationally competitive in no other major sport, "placed all its hopes of glory on its cricket team and thus, for 24 years, on its best player: him." He "remained forever imperturbable: not a word out of place, not a hair out of place, and only rarely a shot out of place" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/14).

The "slowing down of the economy" has hit the Board of Control for Cricket in India "hard," according to Indranil Basu of the TIMES OF INDIA. The board "has been forced to slash the Team India sponsorship's base price" for each Test, ODI and T20 match to Rs 1.5 crore ($238,000) from Rs 2.5 crore, the base price in '10. The rights will be sold for a period of three years -- from January '14 through March '17. The "huge reduction in the base price seems to have stemmed from BCCI's lack of confidence in getting enough bidders at a higher base price." However, the board officials "rejected this assumption." A BCCI official said, "This is a move to attract more sponsors when the bidding happens but the team logo sponsorship is not being under-valued at all." The BCCI "floated the tender after Sahara decided against continuing with the team's sponsorship" after '13. The logo rights "include the right to be called the 'Official Team Sponsor' and to display a commercial logo on the team clothing of the senior cricket team, the U-19 men's team, the men's A-team and the women's team" (TIMES OF INDIA, 11/14).

The Chinese Olympic Committee and Tencent Inc. "signed an eight-year partnership that will make the high-tech company the exclusive Internet outlet for Chinese delegations at major international sports events" on Wednesday, according to Sun Xiaochen of the CHINA DAILY. According to the agreement, the COC "will provide exclusive interviews of athletes, first-hand press releases and content to Tencent at 20 events," including the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics and two Asian Games in '14 and '19. During the eight-year period, Tencent "will also be authorized to market its brand by using the official symbol and image of the COC" (CHINA DAILY, 11/13).

Samsung has been named the presenting partner of the NBA Global Games Mexico City 2013. The event will feature the Minnesota Timberwolves playing the San Antonio Spurs in a regular-season game in Mexico City on Dec. 4. Samsung will receive prominent brand exposure in Mexico City in the weeks leading up to the game as well as in-arena signage and on-court fan activities during the game. Samsung will also host partners at the game and provide VIP experiences. Along with Samsung, the event is also being supported by partners adidas, Bimbo, Gatorade, Kir, Lusacell, Sprite and 2K Sports (NBA).

German data company SAP "has increased its foothold in football and signalled an intention to grow its business in the sports area with an expansion of its relationship with the German Bundesliga football club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and the addition of German national team manager Oliver Bierhoff as a brand ambassador," according to Paul Nicholson of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim "has been using software from SAP for a number of years," including the enterprise resource planning application SAP ERP for financial accounting, merchandising and e-commerce. The club "is now expanding the relationship" to include implementation of SAP Event Ticketing software and intends to migrate to SAP Business Suite software powered by SAP HANA and the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service. The club and SAP "are developing a real-time player analysis solution based on the sensor data collected and in-memory geospatial processing of SAP HANA." Sensors are placed in shin guards, clothing and the ball itself, "enabling the collection of an enormous amount of actionable data from training." The data "is then analysed using SAP HANA" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/14).

The Belgian FA "has agreed a four-year deal under which French supermarket chain Carrefour will become its main sponsor." The deal commences with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and runs until July '18, "covering the men’s and women’s national teams and the KBVB’s domestic Cofidis Cup competition" (SOCCEREX, 11/14). ... Polish side Widzew Lodz "has signed a sponsorship deal" with local pharmaceutical company Aflofarm Farmacja. The logo of one of the drugs manufactured by the company, Braveran, "will appear on its squad shirts" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/14).