Chinese online sports lottery ticket vendor 500.com Chair Vincent Law said that the company "plans to add more social networking features to its lottery sales platform ahead of the FIFA World Cup and expects more sales from mobile devices," according to XINHUA. Law said that "the company expects to grow its user base" during the football tournament in Brazil, however, he said that "the company had no specific sales target for the sports event." Law said, "Soccer fans might not use our site to buy lottery tickets, but they can use our platform to network with other fans, and discuss matches or a particular player." 500.com sold more than 3B yuan ($488M) worth of sports lottery tickets to more than 20 million registered users last year and "is now making a foray into the mobile internet sector" (XINHUA, 3/23).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Swiss watch manufacturer Hublot "will remain the official World Cup timekeeper" through '22, according to Aaron Bauer of WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER. According to Sponsors.de, Hublot "has extended its current arrangement" with FIFA to cover the 2018 World Cup in Russia and '22 edition in Qatar. Hublot’s original agreement "was only for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups in South Africa and Brazil." The deal "has yet to be officially announced." According to a Bloomberg report, Hublot is paying about $500,000 "to use Brazilian football legend Pelé as a brand ambassador" (WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER, 3/24).
Bundesliga club SC Freiburg has extended its partnership with the Rothaus brewery for another three years until '17. The brewery has been a premium sponsor of the club since '05 (SC Freiburg). ... Bundesliga side FSV Mainz has extended its "sponsorship agreement with local lottery operator Lotto Rheinland-Pfalz." Under the terms of the contract the company "will continue as a second-level co-sponsor of the club" until the end of the '16-17 season (SOCCEREX, 3/24). ... The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced that Hardys, the U.K.'s largest wine brand, is the new official wine of England Cricket. In a three-year sponsorship deal, Hardys will promote its products and offer samples to fans at England's home int'l fixtures (ECB). ... Bangladesh football "is all set to taste the flavour" of int'l sponsorship as the Int'l Trade Holding Company of Kuwait "agreed to sponsor the eight nation Bangabandhu Gold Cup football tournament" to be held in September (DHAKA TRIBUNE, 3/23).