The Lotus F1 team "announced a new sponsorship deal" with Denmark's Saxo Bank, according to SKY SPORTS. Although the financial terms of the arrangement are unknown, the news "is a welcome and pressure-relieving fillip for the struggling Enstone-based outfit." Despite new recruit Pastor Maldonado being attached to significant sponsorship backing, concerns about Lotus's future "have heightened this month." The team "are to miss the upcoming Jerez test, while their inclusion on the official entry list for the new season was marked as 'subject to confirmation.'" Lotus has yet to confirm a launch date for their '14 charger, but "have indicated it will be unveiled prior to the first of the two Bahrain tests in February" (SKY SPORTS, 1/20).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Paddy Power "has continued its campaign of cheeky marketing stunts" by placing a waxwork of former ManU Manager Alex Ferguson contained in a glass box outside Old Trafford, with the following sign: "In case of Emergency at Old Trafford, Break Glass," according to Stephen Lepitak of THE DRUM. The stunt was pulled Sunday morning following Chelsea’s 3-1 victory against ManU, which has "struggled for form" under new Manager David Moyes. Paddy Power Global Marketing Dir Christian Woolfenden recently explained "how the brand views receiving complaints from the stunts it pulls." He said, "The complaints are never from your own consumers, for us we know our consumer and we receive around 95 percent positive commentary, then you get the five percent who have an opinion on everything, and actually if we don’t get complaints we’re quite disappointed" (THE DRUM, 1/20)
Property website Zoopla "has confirmed that it will end its sponsorship" with EPL West Brom at the end of the season, according to Sarah Ebner of the LONDON TIMES. Zoopla also made it clear that the decision not to renew the deal with West Brom "is down to the actions" of striker Nicolas Anelka, who "made an apparently anti-Semitic gesture" in a match on Dec. 28. Anelka claimed that his celebratory gesture -- known as the quenelle -- "was made in tribute to his friend," French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. Although not known in the U.K., the quenelle "is recognised in France and across Europe as an inverted Nazi salute with anti-Semitic connotations." Zoopla Communications Head Lawrence Hall said, "Through our sponsorship of West Bromwich Albion we are pleased to have supported the local community and charities. In recent weeks, however, we have decided to re-evaluate this sponsorship and as a result we will focus our attention on other marketing activities from the end of the season" (LONDON TIMES, 1/20). Meanwhile, West Brom named Anelka in its starting lineup against Everton Monday night (SBD Global).
THE GESTURE: In London, Jack de Menezes reported Anelka "has promised not to repeat the gesture again," and he said he views the quenelle as "anti-system," rather than anything to do with religion. Zoopla "has sponsored the club for the past two seasons," having invested over £100,000 ($164,000) to the Albion Foundation and other local charities as part of their work. It was also reported over the weekend that Zoopla "had asked West Brom to field Anelka in an unbranded shirt" for Monday's match against Everton, although "that has not been confirmed by the club nor the property website" (INDEPENDENT, 1/20). BLOOMBERG's Peter-Joseph Hegarty reported former French Sports Minister Chantal Jouanno has described the quenelle as a Nazi gesture that is "clearly anti-Semitic." The European Jewish Congress has "condemned Anelka’s behavior and called for him to be punished" (BLOOMBERG, 1/20).
Carmaker Jaguar "has signed a two-year agreement to become an official partner of champion cycling outfit Team Sky," according to Brett Gibbons of the BIRMINGHAM POST. The Jaguar brand logo will be featured on the Team Sky racing kit "for the first time during the next two seasons," and the Castle Bromwich manufacturer will develop its association as an innovation partner with the racing unit "through the integration of design and engineering resources to further enhance the team’s performances." Jaguar "has been supplying technical support vehicles to Team Sky since the outfit was founded" in '10 (BIRMINGHAM POST, 1/20).
Electronic Arts has signed a long-term agreement with Professional Game Match Officials Ltd. that will see EA SPORTS become the new principal partner for PGMOL up until the end of the '18-19 season. Under the deal, EA's logo will appear on the referee's jerseys (Premier League). ... Bundesliga club Hamburg SV has extended its partnership with IT service provider QSC. As the club's official IT partner, QSC will install a WLAN system for up to 10,000 spectators at the Imtech Arena. In addition, QSC will remain a partner of charity organization Hamburger Weg until the end of the '15-16 season (HSV). ... Former Welsh int'l footballer Robbie Savage "will be a roaming reporter at the Brazil 2014 World Cup for online sports retailer Kitbag.com after extending a brand partnership." Savage first signed a 12-month contract with the brand in Dec. 2012 and the partnership "will be extended for another 12 months." Savage "will take part in PR and social media campaigns as well as events for Kitbag customers" (THE DRUM, 1/20). ... League One club Coventry City has agreed to a one-off shirt sponsorship deal with online betting firm 12BET for the FA Cup tie with Arsenal. The Sky Blues completed the deal with the company this week and it will see the firm’s logo on the front of City’s away kit as they take on the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium on Jan. 24 (Coventry City). ... CSM Sport & Entertainment announced that Sportseen will partner with Pitch Int'l in a move which will enhance and extend Sportseen’s position both domestically and internationally. The move combines the knowledge and expertise of Sportseen -- a specialist sales organization which maximizes advertising, sponsorship and commercial opportunities at major televised sporting events, with those of leading rights agency Pitch Int'l, which specializes in media rights, sponsorship and event management (CSM).