Sources said that adidas is "in pole position to clinch a world record kit deal" with ManU, as a deal worth $102M annually "has all but been agreed, even though current sponsors Nike retain the right to match any offer and extend a partnership" that dates back to '02, according to Lawton & Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. Nike is "sure to question whether it is worth more than doubling" its original 10-year, $509M deal, which expires in June '15. ManU officials met adidas execs in Germany after the club's recent UEFA Champions League match against Bayern Munich, and senior adidas execs also "have been attending recent matches at Old Trafford." Negotiations with Nike "have been going on for the last three years." ManU Group Managing Dir Richard Arnold and Exec Vice Chair Ed Woodward know that they "need to sign off the next kit deal as soon as possible too, simply because the sheer demand for United merchandise means production needs to begin sooner rather than later." A deal with adidas "would still give United the freedom to create a separate fashion brand, with Japanese company Uniqlo thought to be close to completing" its own deal (DAILY MAIL, 5/7).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Premiership rugby side London Irish has agreed to a five-year kit deal with Irish sportswear manufacturer O'Neills to provide playing and replica kits at all levels. O'Neills will also launch a new online store and develop an int'l third party retailer. The club will also revert back to its traditional London Irish green. The deal is the business strategy of London Irish Owners Mick Crossan and Phil Cusack (London Irish).
F1 team Williams signed a new agreement with Cavallino Group LLC that will see the U.S.-based automotive lifestyle company become the official clothing supplier for Williams Martini Racing. The growing family-run automotive lifestyle company's expertise ranges from online retail sales, track-side/event sales, wholesale distribution and licensed merchandise. Cavallino will supply the range of official Williams merchandise that will be available to purchase by fans from approved retailers and the Williams online shop. Cavallino will also supply the range of apparel worn at races and various functions by the teams’ drivers and personnel from the 2014 British Grand Prix onward (Williams).
Maximum substance, sovereignty and self-confidence -- those are the attributes that Mercedes-Benz wants to communicate through its World Cup marketing campaign. The campaign slogan “Bereit wie nie” (“Ready like never before”) is a reference to Germany’s national team as well as the new C-Class. “It is now time to retrieve this power for the World Cup and bring it successfully ‘on the road.’ The claim applies to the German national team, the new C-Class and parent company Daimler AG in 2014,” said Claudia Merzbach, head of sports communications at Mercedes-Benz. The campaign officially launched on the company’s social media channels on March 3. However, it will pick up speed during the next several weeks leading up to the World Cup. This is when Mercedes will start using traditional marketing avenues like print, TV and point-of-sale activities. “We will show the TV commercial for the first time next Monday during a press event, but the first broadcast on German TV will be during the Champions League final on May 24,” said Jens Thiemer, head of marketing communications at Mercedes-Benz Cars. For the campaign’s creative execution, Mercedes commissioned Hamburg-based agency Jung von Matt. While the focal point of the campaign is Germany, the national team’s strong reputation on an international level provides opportunities to target other markets as well. Merzbach told SBD Global that sales teams in other markets will have the possibility to adapt the campaign and tailor it to their specific local needs.
THE RIGHT CHANNELS: The fact that the campaign launched on social media more than two months ahead of traditional channels shows the increasing importance of those online tools to companies and campaigns. Merzbach said that the social media component plays a central role in the campaign’s strategy and can greatly influence its success. She said, “For many customers it is important to have a direct contact with the company, be able to interact with them and give feedback.” Mercedes will try to make use of this potential during the World Cup. The campaign’s increased focus on social media also speaks to the C-Class’ younger target demographic. A high-ranking Stuttgart-based official involved in the new car’s conception reportedly said, “We want once and for all to discard the idea that the C-Class is a car bought by your grandfather.”
VALUED PARTNERSHIP: The luxury car brand and the blue-collar sport -- what seems to be an odd relationship at first -- has been one of the most successful in German sports history. The partnership between Mercedes and the German Football Federation (DFB) dates back to the early ‘70s. While neither side provided any financial details of their partnership, Sport Bild reported that the most recent six-year deal has an estimated value of €50M ($69.5M). With football being the No. 1 sport in Germany and the German national team as its ultimate product, Mercedes is guaranteed public awareness. Merzbach said, “During European Championships or World Cups most of the German population is going to sit in front of the TV, keep the fingers crossed and support the German team.”
Despite his "stature as one of history's greatest and most popular athletes, Pelé and a new team of handlers have been scrambling to reverse decades of mismanagement and bad business deals, shoring up a formidable brand in time to bask in the spotlight of international sports when it shines on Brazil" during the World Cup, according to Futterman & Johnson of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Pelé currently has deals with Hublot, Banco Santander, Subway and Volkswagen. His manager said that a new licensing deal with Puma "is in the works." Imagine Entertainment later this year "hopes to release a feature film" about Pelé's childhood and emergence and a Pelé museum "is about to open in Santos, featuring all of the memorabilia that the famous pack-rat never sold." However, despite his current deals, Pelé "has stumbled in his career as a businessman and entrepreneur." A construction company "went bust," and while Café Pelé "is one of the world's best-known coffee products ... its namesake reaps little from it, the result of a bad deal cut long ago by a former manager." Legends 10 CEO Paul Kemsley, whose firm reps Pele, said, "He's been getting abused for 40 years." Kemsley said that Legends 10 "will attract" nearly $30M in endorsement and licensing revenues this year, and "has secured" roughly $100M worth of contractual commitments. Pelé "owns one-third of the company, which is pursuing a second round of fundraising." Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, whose company's endorsement deals typically go to younger athletes like Usain Bolt and Kobe Bryant, said, "We talk to the young generations through Pele" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/7).
World Triathlon Corp. has named Mercedes as the official car partner of the European Tour for '14-15, which includes nine races in eight countries. V-Class vehicles will be used for shuttle service at all '14 Ironman European Tour events (RUSH LANE, 5/5). ... Second Bundesliga club FC Kaiserslautern "has signed an early contract extension with sports marketing agency Sportfive." The new contract "will run for an additional six years until '20" (NEW BUSINESS, 5/7). ... Handball Bundesliga (HBL) club TBV Lemgo has extended its kit-supply deal with Erima for another two years. Erima has been a partner of the club since '08 (TBV Lemgo). ... Bundesliga club FC Augsburg has renewed its sponsorship deal with construction chemical producer PCI Augsburg for another year. The deal was brokered by Sportfive (FC Augsburg). ... Jockey Club Racecourses have made a three-year agreement with int'l law firm Pinsent Masons. Pinsent Masons will be the preferred supplier for the Jockey Club's legal work (Jockey Club). ... Red Bull Racing has partnered with outdoor wintersports supplier Scott Sports, which will provide face helmets and goggles to pit crew (Red Bull Racing). ... Indian Premier League side Mumbai Indians partner Usha Int'l "has taken a step ahead" and has "started contests across the digital platform." Usha Int'l’s collaboration with Mumbai Indians and sports personalities such as badminton player Saina Nehwal "is a part of its larger effort in promoting sports and engaging with the younger audience" (INDIAN TELEVISION, 5/7). ... French Top 14 rugby side Stade Français has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with telecom operator Numericable (Stade Français).