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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

India's United Progressive Alliance government "decided to confer" the country's high civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, on retired cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, according to Aabhas Sharma of the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. Tendulkar "became the first sportsperson to receive the honour." Now, "a fresh debate has broken out." As a recipient of the Bharat Ratna, "should Tendulkar be featuring in advertisements and endorsements?" Harish Bijoor Consults CEO and brand expert Harish Bijoor "is of the opinion that the cricketer should not do commercial endorsements any more." Bijoor: "The Bharat Ratna has a certain prestige and honor which should not be belittled at any cost. So he should not be doing any endorsements for a commercial cause." Talent management company Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions COO Indranil Das Blah "agrees." Blah: "He isn't a salesman anymore, he is a statesman." Even if he wants to continue with endorsements, Tendulkar "should be more selective and cautious." Tendulkar currently endorses 14 brands, including adidas, Coca-Cola and BMW (BUSINESS STANDARD, 2/14).

Italian drinks brand Martini is the "new title sponsor" of the Williams F1 Team, according to MOTORSPORT. The speculation "entered the realm of fact this week when the website spotted images of Martini-themed Williams team shirts at officially-licensed F1 merchandiser OnPole." The images "were subsequently removed." Italy's specialist Autosprint reported that the Martini deal "will not be limited to mere branding on Williams' shirts and livery." The report said that it is believed "the deal gives Martini full naming and livery rights, meaning the Williams will be relaunched in iconic white, blue and red and as Williams Martini Racing" (MOTORSPORT, 2/14).

Gaming technology provider Power8 has become the official club partner of EPL side Fulham. The deal includes Power8 branding on LED perimeter ad boards surrounding the pitch (Fulham FC). ... German Hockey League (DEL) club Hamburg Freezers has signed two new sponsorship deals with Bijou Brigitte and Fitness First. The partnership with jewelry company Bijou Brigitte will run until '15-16 and includes the naming rights for the club's dance team, the Ice Girls. Fitness First signed a deal with the team until the end of the current season (Hamburg Freezers). ... Dutch former footballer Ruud van Nistelrooy "has been limbering up to join Xbox and EA SPORTS to launch 'Play Like a Legend'" across the U.K., France, Germany and Spain to "promote his status as an EA SPORTS FIFA Ultimate Team Legend player only on Xbox" (London DAILY MIRROR, 2/14). ... A-League side Melbourne Victory announced that their joint principal partner, Oliana Foods, "will serve as their front-of-shirt sponsor for their forthcoming AFC Asian Champions League campaign." The Victoria-based food company has sponsored the Victory’s away shirts since the beginning of the '12-13 A-League season (SOCCEREX, 2/13).