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Volume 6 No. 215

Marketing and Sponsorship

Ossur, the Icelandic company that manufactures the blades used by Oscar Pistorius, "has ended its advertising contract with the paralympian as he is tried for the murder of his girlfriend," according to Omar R. Valdimarsson of BLOOMBERG. Ossur CFO Sveinn Solvason said, “We, as Ossur, don’t have any official stand in this matter on whether the man is innocent or guilty. But we’re no longer sponsoring Oscar Pistorius.” Pistorius, who uses Ossur prosthetics, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of intentionally killing model Reeva Steenkamp in his bathroom. The charges "have wrecked Pistorius’s career, and cost him sponsorship deals with Nike Inc. and Luxottica Group SpA’s Oakley." Ossur’s main office in the Icelandic capital "has also removed all images of Pistorius that once adorned its walls" (BLOOMBERG, 3/14).

The Sauber F1 Team announced that Pacific Ventures, Dubai, will be a premium partner starting with the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. The real estate developer’s logo will appear on the rear sidepods of the Sauber C33 and later on the drivers’ overalls. It is the first partnership of the Sauber F1 Team with a brand from the Middle East. The team also announced McGregor as a premium partner. The fashion house has supported Giedo van der Garde as a long-standing partner in the early stages of his career. In addition to this personal relationship, McGregor is now also extending its involvement to the team. The McGregor logos will be placed on top of the headrest starting with the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. Starting with the Malaysian Grand Prix, they will also be present on the overalls and the helmets of the drivers (Sauber).

The staging of the 2016 Rio Olympics could be helped by the IOC sounding out advice from London 2012 sponsors, which would provide invaluable advice about how to sell sponsorship packages, according to one key London 2012 sponsorship exec. Sally Hancock, the former director of Olympic marketing at Lloyds Banking Group, said that Lloyds bank and other London 2012 sponsors “helped tell the marketing story of the organizing committee” for the London Olympics. She said, “We got the message out there. Our experience could help with sponsorship of other events.” Organizers of the 2016 Rio Olympics are struggling to lure domestic sponsors as protests about the expense of the Olympics in Rio and concern over whether they will be a success is making potential sponsors nervous. Hancock said the IOC would benefit by talking to Lloyds, as the bank could pass on learnings and advice, which the IOC could then use to help attract sponsors in Brazil.

REAPING THE REWARDS: Hancock also pointed out that Olympic sponsorship can bear fantastic financial results for a company, pointing to the more than £100M Lloyds generated from its London 2012 sponsorship, which costs £80M, though Hancock said there was still a perception that sponsors “drained the value out of sport.” At a SportsPro Live panel in London, the value of Twitter was also discussed as a commercial tool for sporting stars. David Beckham's publicist Simon Oliveria said that Twitter was not beneficial to all athletes and could ruin a sport star’s mystique if they were too prevalent on social media. For stars such as Andy Murray and Lewis Hamilton, however, Twitter “can open up their personality a lot more” than it would through a media interview, Oliveria said. However, Ben Ainslee, the four-time Gold Medal-winning Olympic sailor, questioned the commercial value of Twitter. “I haven’t totally got to grips with how it helps you commercially.”

TARGETED AUDIENCE: Meanwhile, Danish sportswear brand Humme Owner Christian Stadil said that the brand could not compete with the likes of Nike and adidas with expensive sponsorship deals. Instead, Hummel has to target sponsorship teams and individuals with an interesting story to tell that would resonate with the public.
Stadil pointed to Hummel’s sponsorship of the Afghanistan national football team, which he said had “given us millions of pounds of PR coverage,” pointing to coverage the sponsorship had received in newspapers such as the London Guardian and the N.Y. Times.
John Reynolds is a writer in London.

Sports marketing agency Euromericas reported that Hyundai's recent selection of Brazilian Kaká and Spaniard Iker Casillas "as its worldwide brand ambassadors" is part of a "strategy that includes adding a club emblem." Euromericas CEO Gerardo Molina said that the carmaker offered Real Madrid €150M ($208.6M) per year for five years for a partial naming rights sponsorship of Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabéu. It "is worth nothing that Hyundai is the official automotive partner of the upcoming World Cup" (SPORT, 3/15). ... Indian celebrity commerce company Collectabillia, "in partnership with iAccy," announced its "association with four-time Ballon D'Or winner Lionel Messi for exclusive rights to manufacture a range of covers for mobiles, laptops and tablets under the player's own brand, Messi." The range of accessories will be "available globally" starting in April. Collectabillia currently "boasts of a power packed list of celebrity associations that include being the official merchandise partner" to current and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Vivian Richards and chess player Vishwanath Anand, among others (PTI, 3/14). ... Zimbabwe’s Premier Soccer League "has signed a new three-year deal with Delta Beverages" (WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER, 3/14). ... Sahara Force India announced shock absorber specialist KONI, Mexican construction company Consorcio Aristos and financial institution FICREA "as its latest partners ahead of the 2014 campaign" (MOTORSPORT, 3/14). ... MotoGP and MCS have partnered to develop a new fashion collection at the end of April. The collection features new branding and unique MotoGP illustrations incorporated on leather and canvas outerwear, jeans, sweats, T-shirts and polo shirts (MotoGP). ... Emirates airline will sponsor North American Soccer League side New York Cosmos "for a further two years." Former footballer Pelé, "who is an honorary president of the club, was present for the announcement" (GULF NEWS, 3/16).