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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

Man City has signed a multi-year partnership deal with camera company iON to become the club's official global sports action camera partner. The deal, which was formally announced on Monday night, will see iON cameras being used for training, coaching and scouting at the Premier League outfit. In addition, iON cameras will also be used to enhance the matchday experience of supporters through the installation of iON fan booths in BT City Square, the club’s purpose-built fan entertainment zone outside of Etihad Stadium. iON CEO Giovanni Tomaselli said, "We are looking at various ideas and concepts. Fans are very eager to digest more and more content, and that’s what we are providing." The ideas iON is looking at range from second screen to alternative use during practice. Tomaselli told SBD Global that nothing has been finalized, but he mentioned attaching cameras to goal posts or players' heads during practice to get those perspectives and point of views. Man City Chief Commercial & Operating Officer Tom Glick said, "The nature of the innovative content will also be a big hit with our fans around the world, especially during our international preseason tours, where the cameras will play a key role." A major focus of the three-year partnership will be on the use of iON's products to analyze the performance of first team and youth players. Some of iON's cameras have GPS capabilities, which allow coaches to track a player's speed and acceleration. In addition, the camera brand recently acquired web-based scouting and coaching tool PowerChalk. Tomaselli said that the combination of PowerChalk and iON cameras provides a solution for sports franchises such as Man City. He said, "They are looking for solutions and not devices. We are delivering a complete solution. That’s what we are about." PowerChalk allows coaches to upload videos of young players onto the platform, where Man City scouts have the opportunity to spot players without having to travel through the countryside. Tomaselli said, "We presented that [idea] to the Man City guys, and they were very excited because it gives them the ability to spread it out to their minor leagues and feeder junior league."

GLOBAL APPEAL: The Man City deal is iON's first with an English Premier League club. Tomaselli said that in comparison to its competitors, iON has always had the intention of going after mainstream sports and not only catering to surfers and skaters. The fact that Man City is not only a household name in the U.K. but around the world was very enticing for iON in entering into this partnership. Tomaselli said, "We were always looking at how do we go after things that allow us to leverage both sides of the ocean -- likewise on the Pacific and across the Atlantic." With Man City being the majority owner of Major League Soccer side NYC FC and A-League club Melbourne Hearts, iON found an ideal partner for its philosophy. Tomaselli also said that the club is already looking into Asia. "I’m sure that’s not too far away as well," Tomaselli said.

Adidas "aims to replicate a sports stadium experience at flagship stores around the world, part of an effort by the German sportswear firm to make more direct sales, particularly in emerging markets," according to Emma Thomasson of REUTERS. Adidas said in a statement that its "HomeCourt" concept, which it has already launched in its largest store in the world in Beijing, "would be extended to 24 other locations" in '14. Among those locations "are new stores due to open in Rio de Janeiro in April and in Britain's Bluewater shopping center." Adidas said that "it was also planning to open a new concept store in Berlin in March" for its "Originals" range of casual clothing and shoes, and expand its NEO label of teen fashion with new stores planned for Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland (REUTERS, 2/24).

In a "unique -- and bizarre -- convergence" of beer and football, Anheuser-Busch InBev "will launch a limited edition of its popular Brahma beer" made from barley grown on the football field where Brazil's iconic World Cup teams have trained for decades, according to Laurel Wentz of AD AGE. Brahma Selecao Especial "will be sold in Brazil starting in March, three months before the Brazil-hosted World Cup kicks off." Brahma agency Africa CEO Sergio Gordilho said that the training center, called Granja Comary, "is considered sacred ground" to Brazilian football fans, and "one of the two iconic symbols" of Brazilian football, along with Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium. After Africa Lab, the agency's innovation and product development unit, "came up with the idea, A-B InBev's agronomists and brewers spent two months preparing the soil, which was ideal for growing grass, to instead raise a crop of barley." As the brand ambassador, Brazil national team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's signature "will appear on all the bottles." The name Brahma Selecao Especial "comes from the name in Portuguese, Selecao Brasileira." The campaign will include a 30-second commercial, print ads, extensive point of sale, and videos about the project. The agency "also developed the distinctive black bottle with lines in green and yellow, Brazil's team colors" (AD AGE, 2/24).

Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) club ratiopharm ulm has extended its shirt sponsorship deal with automotive service company Liqui Moly for another three years. The engine oil producer has been an exclusive partner of the club since '11 (ratiopharm ulm). ... BBL club Mitteldeutscher BC has agreed to a three-year sponsorship deal with state lottery Lotto Sachsen-Anhalt (Mitteldeutscher BC). ... Second Bundesliga club Dynamo Dresden has signed an exclusive partnership deal with printing company Eastprint GmbH. The partnership, which started with the second half of the '13-14 season, will initially run for six months. Eastprint has been a partner of the club since '11 (Dynamo Dresden). ... Bangladesh Premier League side Muktijoddha Sangsad KS announced electric cable producer BBS Cables as a sponsor, the first of its kind in the history of the club. The former premier division champions declared BBS Cables, which previously was connected "with Dhaka Gladiators and Khulna Royal Bengals in the Bangladesh Premier League cricket," as its sponsor with long term ambitions (DHAKA TRIBUNE, 2/23).