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Volume 6 No. 215

Marketing and Sponsorship

ManU is expected to "secure a world-record shirt deal" worth in excess of £65M ($108M) a year within six months after handing adidas, Warrior and Puma "the opportunity to replace Nike as their kit supplier," according to Mark Ogden of the London TELEGRAPH. ManU’s £23.5M ($39M) annual deal with Nike started in '02-03 and expires at the end of the '14-15 campaign. No agreement has been reached on a new contract, despite Nike "enjoying a six-month period of exclusivity on negotiations between February and August 2013." A source close club owner the Glazers said ManU is capable of landing “a billion dollar deal” -- £600M -- to replace the Nike contract. Talks "are taking place" with adidas, Warrior and Puma "to gauge their interest in striking the biggest kit deal in football history." A ManU spokesperson said, “We currently are in discussions with multiple parties regarding our Global Retail, Apparel & Product Licensing business starting in the 2015/16 Season. This process is a routine practice used for our global and regional sponsorship deals and helps us maximise the value/structure of the Club’s partnerships” (TELEGRAPH, 1/28).

OPEN HOUSE: In London, Ian Ladyman reported adidas was "first through the door at Old Trafford this week," spending Monday outlining their plans to ManU Commercial Dir Richard Arnold and his team. Officials from Warrior -- who pay £25M ($42M) a year to supply Liverpool’s kit -- spent all day at the club Monday while Puma is "expected to attend meetings on Wednesday." ManU and Nike "have had some serious disagreements over the way a new contract would be structured in the last two weeks and it is this that has opened the door" for adidas and others (DAILY MAIL, 1/28).

The Irish Rugby Football Union has secured a bumper kit deal with Canterbury said to be worth €20M ($27M) over six years, according to Ruaidhri O'Connor of the IRISH INDEPENDENT. The deal "is the biggest of its kind in Irish sport and comes as a major boost to the coffers at Lansdowne Road after the union had to shell out to keep the likes of Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien from moving to France at the end of the season." The New Zealand manufacturers "will replace outgoing partners Puma," which paid €11.5M last year to break from its €40M contract signed in '09. While the replacement deal "is not on par with that record agreement," the €3.3M ($4.5M) it will contribute to the accounts "will come as a welcome fillip to the union who have not gone unscathed by the impact of the economic downturn" (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 1/28). The IRISH TIMES reported Canterbury has previously been kit supplier to the IRFU "and the new deal will cover two World Cups in the time period" up to '20. The deal "covers all match day, training and bench wear for the national squad as well as all junior and underage teams and women’s national side" (IRISH TIMES, 1/27).

Nike and the South African FA announced a new five-year kit partnership deal for the men's and women's national teams beginning Feb. 1. Nike will provide a limited-edition kit for Bafana Bafana -- the men's senior national team -- for its int'l friendly against Brazil in Johannesburg on March 5, and all senior national teams competing until December. The '15-16 kit will be unveiled in November, with an assortment of supporter-wear being available early next January (SAFA). The AP reported "neither party disclosed any financial details." Nike also has deals with the national football federations of Brazil, England, France, Korea, the Netherlands, Portugal and the U.S. Puma ended its agreement with SAFA last year "over allegations of match-fixing" in the country's pre-World Cup friendlies in '10, citing "inappropriate responses from within the (South African) football organization" to the allegations. FIFA asked South Africa to investigate the allegations in late '12 "but little has been done, even after the South African government promised an inquiry." SAFA President Danny Jordaan said that the Nike deal "was part of the process of rebuilding South Africa's battered football reputation with the team also severely criticized at home for poor recent performances." South Africa's sports minister said last week the team was "a bunch of losers" (AP, 1/28). ALL AFRICA reported Nike "will provide technical support for teams at all levels," a move that Jordaan "enthusiastically welcomed." Jordaan: "This is a significant time for South African football as we embark on a long-term program of strengthening our structures, especially at grassroots level" (ALL AFRICA, 1/28).

British biathlon beyond the 2014 Sochi Olympics "has been guaranteed" after Aspen Healthcare Solutions was named a sponsor, according to the BBC. The deal with the Birmingham healthcare supplier is worth £250,000 ($414,000) over four years, "enough to ensure continued support" for Great Britain at the int'l level. British Biathlon Union Chair Andre Oszmann said, "Now we have a real chance to develop the sport in the U.K." The British Biathlon Union "lost its previous sponsor, Skandia, after Vancouver 2010" (BBC, 1/28).

Retailer Replay has signed a four-year deal with Barcelona to "provide their clothing for both formal and casual occasions," according to Paul Collins of the London DAILY MAIL. Commercial and sponsorship deals are "increasing fashion among the world's biggest clubs as they look to maximise revenue and increase their global brand" (DAILY MAIL, 1/28). MUNDO DEPORTIVO reported the Footy Headlines website published pictures of Barcelona's possible training shirts for the '14-15 season. The website "claimed that fuchsia and black will replace the blue and red colors on the team's training shirts this year." It "was also reported that the possible debut of these shirts would take place in June and July" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 1/28).

Online printing company flyeralarm has signed a deal to become the official partner of the Austrian Football Federation's (ÖFB) Samsung Cup. The company's logo will be featured on LED boards, interview backdrops and its official website starting with the quarterfinals on April 15-16. The deal was brokered by ÖFB Samsung Cup marketing partner sporteo (sporteo). ... WWP, which is the marketing partner of the Kitzbühel World Cup ski event, has extended the deal with race title sponsor Audi for another four years (Kitzbühel Ski Club). ... The German Tennis Federation (DTB) and its charity partner Plan Int'l have increased their cooperation. The charity organization will become the naming-rights sponsor of Germany's men's national team starting with the Davis Cup match against Spain from Jan. 31-Feb. 2 (DTB). ... Scuderia Toro Rosso F1 announced that it "successfully extended its existing sponsorship agreement with NOVA Chemicals." The industrial manufacturer of chemicals, plastic resins and associated end-products first came on board in '11, and the new agreement "extends the partnership for a further three years" (CRASH, 1/27). ... Mueller Sports Medicine has signed a three-year partnership with Rafael Nadal to endorse Mueller's ProStrips abrasion control products (Mueller). ... The Sauber F1 team has named Mexican financial institution Unifin as a new premium partner. Unifin's logo will appear on top of the nose of the Sauber C33-Ferrari and the drivers' overalls (Sauber).