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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

Usain Bolt said on Saturday that "controversy over Jamaica's anti-doping program is scaring off potential sponsors and costing him money," according to Clare Fallon of REUTERS. Bolt: "There is a lot going on with this drug thing that I really feel they need to be clear (about) and clarify because now it is causing problems for me when it comes to making money in my sport." World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey had suggested the Caribbean nation "could face severe penalties" if the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) was "declared non-compliant." Only WADA code-compliant sports can participate in the Olympic Games. Bolt's manager, Ricky Simms, said that rumors suggesting Bolt might not be at the 2016 Rio Olympics "had upset the sprinter and put off a potential sponsor." Simms said, "I think what he was disturbed about was... the misinformation that was out there. It's a potential new sponsorship. They asked the question 'Are you going to be in the Olympics?' They don't want to sponsor him and then he is not in the Olympics" (REUTERS, 11/16).

THE FALLOUT: In London, Simon Hart reported the threat of Jamaica being expelled from the Olympics "has since receded after Jamaica agreed to work with the United States Anti-Doping Agency to improve its anti-doping procedures, but Bolt said he was still suffering from the fall-out." Bolt: "A sponsor came up to us and was saying, ‘We’d like to sponsor you.’ They then used an agency that does background checks to figure out if it’s viable to sponsor you and it came back that WADA had said that I would not be eligible to run at the next Olympics" (TELEGRAPH, 11/16). In London, Sean Ingle reported IAAF President Lamine Diack used the awards presentation "to criticise WADA for mounting what he called a 'ridiculous campaign' against Jamaica and Kenya." Diack said, "It was like a campaign, with WADA trying to make a statement. It was ridiculous. They went to Jamaica and what did they find? Nothing. We have to be clear on that" (GUARDIAN, 11/16).

Ministers are facing demands that British firms supplying goods and services to next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow should be allowed to boast of their involvement -- "after it emerged that 151 suppliers to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are still being gagged by officials," according to Vicki Owen of the London DAILY MAIL. One hundred and fifty-one companies "have been refused the right to promote their involvement in any marketing." Most "have been barred under rules that were designed to protect the exclusive rights of big-name sponsors." The figure, released by the government following a parliamentary question, "has renewed concern ahead of the Commonwealth Games." Of the 151 suppliers that were denied permission, "many of them small or medium sized companies, 108 were firms providing products falling in an 'excluded category,' meaning their line of business is in the same field as one of the major sponsors." Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna said, "I will press Ministers this week to make sure that lessons are learned and similar mistakes are not repeated with next year's Commonwealth Games, which thousands of businesses are helping to deliver." Becky O’Connor, sales and marketing manager at SE Controls UK, which provided temperature control systems for the Velodrome, said, "There were companies that were allowed to benefit and others restricted. There didn’t seem to be any logic to the restriction" (DAILY MAIL, 11/16).

IMG "is set to break even" on the A$20-25M ($18-23M) "it will spend on Australian golf this year," according to the AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW. As well as the Perth Int'l held in October, IMG "owns the Australian Masters tournament which finished on Sunday and is the promoter of the World Cup of Golf that will take place this week." Royal Melbourne "is the host of both tournaments." IMG Australian Managing Dir Martin Jolly said that "renewed interest in golf from sponsors wanting to be associated with the sport, in particular because of the success of US Masters champion Adam Scott, has been a boost." Jolly: “We’ll make a profit; it is a commercial enterprise for IMG. And the good thing has been we’ve been able to convince a lot of corporates to get into golf.” Among the brands backing IMG tournaments this year are Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, Tag Heuer, American Express and Wolf Blass. IMG "is also able to amortise some of the costs across the Masters and World Cup to boost its financial result." IMG Australia Dir of Golf David Rollo said that "he did not believe the Australian market could support any more tournaments and still be sustainable." Rollo: “You’ll have years when you might get a big tournament coming here, like the World Cup or maybe a major one day. But it’s important to have two to three to four really strong tournaments. It is competitive with other countries and finding dates can be hard” (AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW, 11/18).

ManU's worldwide commercial success in splitting up its sponsorships into different regions "has complicated negotiations with Nike" for a potential £1B ($1.6B) kit deal renewal, according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. ManU has "been in talks with Nike over the mammoth new contract for three years, but it still remains unsigned because of the club’s quandary" as to how much of its rights should be granted to Nike, whose current £303M ($488M) shirt agreement expires at the end of next season. This 13-year deal "gives Nike control over all aspects of producing and selling the United kit." Nike would pay around £1B "for a similar length renewal with the same rights." ManU is still exploring whether it would be more profitable to do a straight record £60M ($97M)-a-year football kit supply deal "but market the retail and e-commerce licenses to numerous different global territories," as it does with its mobile and financial services sponsorships. It "could also sell a United fashion range separately" (DAILY MAIL, 11/15).

Microsoft Spain President María Garaña "denied that Microsoft is interested in purchasing a partial title sponsorship of Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu stadium," according to MARCA. Garaña indicated that "Microsoft is not interested in such a move." She also indicated that the company's relationship with Real Madrid is "fundamentally based in technology and innovation." Regarding Real Madrid's "role in the launch of Xbox One, Garaña said that Real Madrid will be among several clubs that will participate in the launch" (MARCA, 11/17). INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL reported "whereas Barcelona have placed copious amounts of livery around the facade and even included the name of Qatar Airways within their seating at one end of their Camp Nou stadium, the general response from Real Madrid supporters" was negative when it came to "suggestions of renaming or re-branding their iconic home, in any way." Real Madrid is currently in the process of finalizing plans for an "extensive remodelling," which will bring changes not only to the "look of the stadium, but also the surrounding area" (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 11/17).