NFL San Francisco 49ers COO Paraag Marathe said that the franchise will use the expertise it gained throughout the last several years to help League Championship side Leeds United grow its business. Just 10 years ago, the 49ers had a 2-14 record and found themselves in the bottom of the NFL. It took them several years to get back to where they are right now, playing in their third consecutive NFC Championship game. The 49ers are looking to see if they can apply some of the practices they used to grow their business at Leeds United through a strategic partnership the two clubs announced last Friday. Marathe said, "We’ve built a fairly good blueprint, playbook for how to grow our own business, whether it’s through ticket sales, sponsorships, stadium development, financing of a stadium, player development or player analytics. All types of different areas. We just thought let’s see if we can help [Leeds] grow their business -- both on and off the pitch." Leeds United, which currently plays in the second tier of English professional football, was relegated from the Premier League following the '03-04 season. In order to get back to the English top flight, Leeds reached out to the 49ers several months ago. Marathe: "We just started having some conversations. Leeds is a club with such strong brand recognition, with such a long and rich history. [It’s] a club that used to be in the Premier League and has moved down. So we really thought in terms of opportunity to add immediate value to a club, Leeds seems like a really good fit."
LET’S WAIT AND SEE: While Marathe did not go into specifics of the deal, he said that there are no immediate plans for further partnerships between the two clubs. The 49ers will send a delegation to England during the next several weeks to identify areas where they could help. Marathe said, "Right now we are doing sort of a diagnostic and spending some time evaluating, looking into where are areas we can help. If there is a longer term business relationship between the two of us, then that will form." The question of what the 49ers get out of this agreement remains unanswered. Growing their global brand might have something to do with it, as Marathe said, "Yes, we absolutely want to grow our brand."
The Force India F1 team announced a multi-year partnership with Mexican lubricant oil brand Roshfrans. The agreement will see "prominent Roshfrans branding on the team's new car, the VJM07 (rear wing endplate) as well as on the drivers' suits, helmets and team clothing." The deal comes after the "signing of Mexican driver Sergio Perez last month" (IANS, 1/16). F1 AL DIA's Pablo Grau reported Force India Team Principal Vijay Mallya said, "I am happy to welcome Roshfrans, Sahara Force India's new long-term partner. We share many common values, including passion for technology and innovation" (F1 AL DIA, 1/16).
Liverpool announced a "multi-year" deal with U.S. company Dunkin' Brands Group, "the company which makes Dunkin' Donuts," according to Phil Kirkbride of the LIVERPOOL ECHO. Dunkin' Donuts will "become the club's official tea, coffee and bakery provider." Liverpool believes the deal "will help strengthen their presence across the world." Dunkin' Donuts "have a similar link up" with the MLB Boston Red Sox, owned by the Fenway Sports Group, the same company that owns Liverpool (LIVERPOOL ECHO, 1/16). In London, Sarah Ebner wrote Liverpool "have something new for Luis Suarez to get his teeth into." It "may seem an unlikely partnership, especially these days, where the public is warned regularly about obesity and even told that sugar is as unhealthy as smoking." However, such negativity "has clearly passed the club by." Liverpudlians "are being encouraged to put down their digestives, and replace them with a snack which is not just full of the sweet stuff, but also fried." The Health Secretary "cannot be impressed." Despite having more than 3,100 stores around the world, Dunkin’ Donuts "has fallen behind Krispy Kreme when it comes to British doughnut eating habits." In fact, the company "pulled out of Britain around 20 years ago, and has only just opened its first 'restaurant' here," in Harrow, North West London. The aim now "is to expand both the doughnut and ice-cream chains across Europe" (LONDON TIMES, 1/16).
HELPING THE CLUB COMPETE: The PA reported Liverpool Managing Dir Ian Ayre said that the deal "will help the club to compete financially with their major rivals." Ayre: "In order to support [Manager] Brendan [Rodgers] we have to provide the resources to allow that. That is only allowable operating within your own means -- they are the rules we have all signed up to -- and this is absolutely vital in us being able to compete. We should be pleased and fans should take comfort from the fact commercially this club is right at the top of teams in that regard" (PA, 1/16).
SLAM DUNK: Dunkin' Brands currently has more than 18,000 points of distribution in nearly 60 countries, including nearly 11,000 Dunkin' Donuts locations in 33 countries and more than 7,250 Baskin-Robbins shops in nearly 50 countries. In '13, Dunkin' Brands opened 790 new restaurants worldwide, with 415 of these outside the U.S. (Liverpool).
ManU "may have fallen from the top of the league" since the departure of Manager Alex Ferguson, "but in terms of selling things with their name and logo on, they remain well on top," according to Simon Rice of the London INDEPENDENT. Amazon revealed that the Red Devils "are the best selling U.K. club in terms of merchandise sold on their website." In second is Chelsea, while third place goes to Liverpool.
Next in the list comes Arsenal. On the European front, it "comes as a surprise to see Barcelona and Real Madrid missing from the top of the table, with Italian side Napoli the best selling club of all time" (INDEPENDENT, 1/16).
Pepsi introduced its team of 19 int'l football players, including Barcelona's Lionel Messi, ManU's Robin van Persie and MLS Sounders' Clint Dempsey, that will make up the soft drink maker's "Live for Now" campaign for '14. The players will star in Pepsi's global TV ad campaign later this year, while select players will appear on packaging and point of sale of Pepsi Max beginning in March. Other aspects of the campaign, including integrations with art, music and interactive experiences, will be unveiled throughout the year (Pepsi). Below is a list of the 19 players.
Juan Guillermo Cuadrado
Peter Osaze Odemwingie
Gylfi Por Sigurosson
Robin van Persie
RIDING THE WORLD CUP WAVE: In London, Andy Hodgson reported while Pepsi is not a sponsor of the FIFA World Cup, the company traditionally launches a "new ad campaign in every year the tournament takes place to capitalise on the buzz around the event." Pepsi in '10 had several players, including MLS Red Bulls' Thierry Henry and Turkish club Galatasaray's Didier Drogba, team up "for a match with kids in Africa" in advance of the South Africa World Cup, while David Beckham and Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro's Ronaldinho in '06 were among the players to "challenge a group of Lederhosen-wearing Bavarian dancers" when the World Cup was in Germany (EVENING STANDARD, 1/15). The move comes after Coca-Cola, anofficial FIFA sponsor, introduced 18 mini-bottle designs to commemorate the World Cup. The designs represent past and future World Cup host countries. The "bottles (which contain no actual soda) are also interactive," as consumers can use Facebook or mobile apps to "create special messages and avatars that can be delivered to other bottle owners" (AD AGE, 1/14).
The Munich-based BMW Open ATP event "has agreed to a deal with financial services provider FWU to become the tournament's presenting sponsor." In addition, the BMW Open "recently signed a deal with Rolex" (ABENDZEITUNG MÜNCHEN, 1/15). Spanish Basketball League (ACB) side UCAM Murcia President and Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco presented a "collaborative agreement to support high-level athletes by distributing 219 scholarships." The objective is to "unite academics and athletics." The agreement will provide scholarships to Spanish Olympic athletes Mario Pestano, Borja Vivas, Joel González, Saúl Craviotto, Maialen Chourraut and Teresa Perales, allowing them to study at the University of Murcia or in other Spanish provinces (AS, 1/16). ... Brasileiro side Sport Club do Recife "has announced a four-year kit supply deal and technical partnership with adidas." The deal will begin in June "when adidas releases its first Recife shirt" (SOCCEREX, 1/15). ... PwC China was named the exclusive financial accounting services supplier of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games. PwC will provide financial advisory services in the areas of budgeting, financial planning, and internal controls to the Nanjing YOG (Nanjing 2014). ... Euroleague Basketball and adidas agreed to a two-year expanded partnership that will run through the '15 season. The partnership gives adidas media and in-arena rights during the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Game of the Week. The new partnership also includes grassroots basketball initiatives, product evaluation and testing and exclusive apparel offerings (Euroleague Basketball). ... Compression and triathlon apparel brand 2XU announced the addition of Olympic Medalist Bevan Docherty to its portfolio of brand ambassadors (2XU).