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Volume 6 No. 214

Marketing and Sponsorship

U.S.-based sporting goods company Rawlings announced its official expansion into cricket with the signing of Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke to a multi-year endorsement deal. Clarke will travel to the U.S. in April to collaborate with Rawlings' product management team on the development of his signature fielders' glove line, set to debut globally later this year. Rawlings Brand Marketing Senior Dir Kurt Hunzeker said, "Cricket and baseball share many game-related characteristics, with fielding as a primary pillar in both sports. With that in mind, Rawlings' expansion into cricket is a logical next step." Rawlings has seen sales increases of fielders' gloves the last three years in cricket-centric markets such as India, South Africa and Australia. The deal continues Rawlings' push into the int'l marketplace. In January, Rawlings signed a three-year deal with the Australian Baseball League and Baseball Australia. Last month, Rawlings announced its new partnership with the Chinese Baseball Association (Rawlings).

EPL side Everton has signed a three-year extension with Thai brewery Chang in a deal potentially worth more than £16M ($26M). That figure would make it the most lucrative in the club's history, and would also extend what is already the longest current shirt sponsorship agreement in the EPL to 13 years. Everton's initial contract with Chang was made ahead of the '04-05 season, an agreement which was renewed in '05, '08 and '10 (Everton). In Liverpool, Greg O'Keeffe reported the sponsorship deal could potentially generate additional payments based on the club "achieving certain specified targets in terms of league progress and silverware." The partnership is also "focused on developing young footballing talent in Thailand, where Everton will continue to invest resources in projects aimed at improving the game in the South East Asian country" (LIVERPOOL ECHO, 3/20). In London, Tony Barrett reported the deal was announced by Everton CEO Robert Elstone in Bangkok Thursday. Elstone: “We do not take our partnership and all that we have achieved lightly. Everton is very proud of our mutual success to date. I’m sure the years ahead will be as exciting off the field as they look set to be on it” (LONDON TIMES, 3/20).

EPL side Stoke City has announced that Warrior will become the club's official kit supplier beginning in June. The deal will make Stoke City the second EPL club to be kitted by Warrior, joining Liverpool. Warrior will design Stoke City's home and away kits along with its training wear (Stoke City). The Stoke Sentinel noted that Warrior replaces adidas as the club's kit supplier. The club "launched the partnership by announcing the price of children's replica shirts will be reduced" by £30 ($50) beginning next season, while the price of other products will be frozen (STOKE SENTINEL, 3/20).

Australian Football League side Collingwood has extended its "lucrative uniform sponsorship with Emirates" and will earn an estimated A$10M ($9M) from the airline over the next five years in a "deal that highlights the growing gap between the AFL’s haves and have-nots," according to Mark Hawthorne of THE AGE. The Emirates deal will help the club top $A20M in "combined sponsorship and merchandise revenue" for the '14 season, a feat "only previously achieved" by Essendon and Richmond in the AFL. Last year, AFL Hawthorn banked A$19M in sponsorship and merchandise revenue, Essendon earned A$20.1M and Richmond led the AFL with A$22.9M -- "more than half the Tigers' total revenue" of A$44.8M. The new Emirates contract will "extend the airline’s partnership with the Magpies to 20 years" (THE AGE, 3/21).

The Hogg Robinson Group and Austrian Football Marketing, which is a subsidiary of the Austrian Football Federation (ÖFB), "have created a new joint venture, Austrian Sportstravel Management," according to TRAVEL 4 NEWS. The joint venture, which will have its headquarters in Vienna's Ernst-Happel Stadium, "will offer sports fan travel packages as well as group and event management." In Germany, HRG "already has several similar joint ventures in place with the German Football Federation (DFB), German Football League (DFL) and Bundesliga clubs Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Hamburg SV and Bayer Leverkusen." HRG "has organized all travel arrangements of the ÖFB for the past five years," and therefore the joint venture "is just a logical consequence" (TRAVEL 4 NEWS, 3/19).

Bulgarian football side Levski Sofia is "switching its kit sponsor" from Puma to Spanish brand Joma for the "start of its centenary season." The contract "is not yet signed, but it will be for a period of two years, with an option to extend" for another two years. Levski "declined to announce financial details of the deal" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 3/20). ... Construction and agricultural machinery manufacturer JCB has announced that it will sponsor the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse for a "further six years." JCB has sponsored the race since '02 (SKY SPORTS, 3/19). ... Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar is "likely to be the face of IMG-Reliance's ambitious Indian Soccer League." Talks are "underway to get the country's biggest sporting icon to endorse the cash-rich football league which is scheduled to be played" from Sept.-Nov. Tendulkar is "also rumoured to be part of the Indian franchise" of the Int'l Premier Tennis League (MUMBAI MIRROR, 3/20).