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Volume 6 No. 197

Marketing and Sponsorship

"Spain Competes" -- a new project launched by various Spanish organizations that "aims to increase investment in Spanish sport through a new line of patronage linked to advantageous tax deductions" -- has been unveiled, according to Carlos Marcote of EL PERIODICO. The initiative, presented Monday by Spain's Superior Sports Council (CSD), "was created with collaboration" between the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE), the Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium Businesses (CEPYME) and the Athletes Association (AD). It "will stimulate investment through a line of tax deductions equal to 40% of what a company donates -- up to a maximum of €50,000 ($68,800)." CSD President Miguel Cardenal said, "This aims to have money arrive to those who need it the most, the final link in the chain, to individual athletes, to small clubs suffering from the country's economic crisis" (EL PERIODICO, 12/16).

Lance Armstrong and other cycling drug cheats have fundamentally undermined cycling’s ability to attract corporate sponsors, according to 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome, who is now looking to capitalize on his new-found fame and attract personal sponsors as he contemplates life after competitive cycling. Froome told SBD Global  potential sponsors had “been worried about getting involved in cycling and understandably so. ‘Why would you back a sport that could bring you a very negative reputation?’ The sport really has changed now, but unfortunately we are only just learning all that went on with our predecessors.” The 28-year-old Kenya-born Briton was the first man to win the Tour de France following Armstrong’s confession to doping his way to all seven of his Tour de France victories, and some experts believe the damage has hindered cyclists and teams from attracting sponsors.

UP TO THE NEXT GENERATION: Froome said it was up to the current crop of cyclists to “change the image and show people that it is a sport that can be credible and believed in going forward." Currently contracted to Team Sky in a £2M-a-year deal until '16, Froome is now thinking about his future earning power, given the relatively short sporting life of a top cyclist, and hinted that he would like to be a Sky brand ambassador once he retires, while securing one or two other personal sponsorship deals. He said that if “you have a few brands that you are really representing, it would be a natural fit to carry on with those brands” once you retire.

WAITING FOR OFFERS: Froome said he had not been offered a flurry of commercial opportunities following this year’s Tour de France victory, though it is thought that his contractual obligation with Team Sky means that his ability to work with other sponsors is restricted. But he is keen to up his profile in the U.K. -- and globally -- which is dwarfed by that of fellow Brit and Team Sky rider Bradley Wiggins. Commenting on this, Froome said, “I feel I am going to have to work on this in the future. I am a successful cyclist. But I am not going to rely on that to pay for my kids' lives.” Froome is unlikely to go down the route of boasting a portfolio of sponsorships, but said he would be comfortable working with one or two that fit well with him.
John Reynolds is a writer in London.

Adidas "has blasted critics of Andy Murray with a sponsored tweet that celebrates the tennis star winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award," according to Matthew Chapman of MARKETING MAGAZINE. The congratulatory message, which says "not bad for a man with no personality," was tweeted out immediately after Murray’s victory Sunday night. It has now received more than 12,000 retweets, "including one from Murray himself." Murray claimed the Sports Personality of the Year award Sunday night "after a public vote and his victory comes after he has had to battle against accusations throughout his professional career that he lacks charisma." The 26-year-old Scot’s award "is confirmation that perceptions of him have turned a corner" following events including him breaking down into tears after losing in the '12 Wimbledon final, and a documentary about his life. Even Sunday night, Murray "drew criticism for not attending the Sports Personality of the Year ceremony and instead accepted his prize at his training camp in Miami via a video link" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 12/16).

FC Barcelona's Carles Puyol "is already looking toward retirement," according to José Félix Díaz of EL CONFIDENCIAL. Puyol's "knee will not stop giving him problems," and it was previously reported that Puyol "has admitted that his goodbye is imminent." Puyol, together with former footballer Iván de la Peña, "has launched a partnership through which both could become player agents for footballers in the very near future." Puyol said when he renewed his contract that he "hoped to keep playing for Barcelona until he was 40," but this is "unlikely because of the problems with his right knee." It would be "possible to play for a lower-level club, but the option of forming a player-agent business is more attractive to him" (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 12/16).

BMW will not extend its title sponsorship of the Frankfurt Marathon. BMW, which has been the event's title sponsor since '11, will not renew its expiring four-year deal. The contract will run through October (Frankfurt Marathon). ... German Touring Car Champion (DTM) team Audi Sport has extended its title sponsorship deal with industrial parts manufacturer Schaeffler for another three years. The team has won two titles in the last three seasons (Schaeffler Group). ... Infront Sports & Media will acquire B2RUN with effect as of Jan. 1 in a 100% takeover from the previous owner, consulting firm actori. B2RUN organizes the German company running championship, which includes 10 events each year and attracts approximately 5,000 companies, including numerous blue chip brands (Infront). ... Malcolm Construction has been named the official construction provider for the 2014 Commonwealth Games (Glasgow 2014).