Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

Indian companies "have long flocked to be associated with cricket," according to Rebecca Bundhun of THE NATIONAL. Other sports are, however, "gradually growing in sponsorship appeal as new leagues are launched" and companies look for cheaper, uncluttered pathways to promote their brands. Cornerstone Sport & Entertainment CEO Bunty Sajdeh: “The cost of associating with the highest level of cricket is very, very expensive and out of reach of a lot of corporates." The agency "represents sports stars including the cricketer Virat Kohli and India’s football captain, Sunil Chhetri." Sajdeh said, "Even if companies have the financial backing, they don’t see too much value in associating with the cricket because of the amount of sponsors already present that they will be sharing the space with." New leagues for lower-profile sports "have emerged in the past couple of years." These "include the Indian Badminton League and the Hockey India League." Sajdeh: "Up until two or three years ago, there was no credible, significant sport to invest in, in terms of getting a return on your investment." This September "is the scheduled kickoff date for the Indian Super League." Dentsu India Exec Chair and Dentsu Asia Pacific CEO Rohit Ohri said, "There is a growing interest in sports sponsorship in India. Cricket sponsorship has become very cluttered and ownership of cricket as a platform has become virtually impossible" (THE NATIONAL, 7/27).

For Aon, a new partnership with ManU "will go even further in answering the big question challenging the company's marketing department: What, exactly, does the company do?" according to Michael Sebastian of AD AGE. That is why content marketing is a key component of Aon's eight-year, $240M sponsorship of ManU "that was signed in April 2013." Aon Global Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Phil Clement said, "Without content marketing, we can't explain what we do." Business-to-business marketers like Aon "are embracing various forms of content marketing, from producing articles and videos for their own sites to working with publishers to create and run so-called native ads, which seek to mimic editorial content." To understand why Aon feels the need to explain itself, "go back" to '09, when it announced a deal to appear on ManU jerseys. Clement said the initial four-year placement created an "explosion in brand awareness." Last year, the company signed its current deal with the club, "giving Aon naming rights to the team's practice facility and putting the Aon logo on the team's practice kits and making it a presenting sponsor for off-season tours." Clement said, "More people on the planet recognize our brand than don't. They just don't know what we do" (AD AGE, 7/24).

Mercedes parent company Daimler Chair Dieter Zetsche "has pointed the finger" at F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "in the wake of the unpopular German Grand Prix," according to the FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG. Zetsche thinks Ecclestone's "approach to marketing the sport is on the wrong track." He said, "In what company can the boss always do everything alone? I could imagine the marketing of Formula One being taken over by a professional of the new media." Zetsche compared Ecclestone's "one man" approach with that of Daimler, which "split responsibilities across a range of different roles and responsibilities." He said, "Why should it not be transferable to Formula One?" Zetsche also criticized Ecclestone's "income distribution model," with the newspaper claiming that while Ferrari and Red Bull receive $100M and $70M, respectively, Mercedes gets just $12M (FAZ, 7/25).

CALL FOR SUMMIT: In London, Kevin Eason reported Ecclestone "is calling a summit meeting to explore ways of halting Formula One's slide in popularity amid a veiled warnings" that Mercedes may quit the sport. F1 "was shaken by empty grandstands a week ago at Hockenheim and there were rows of seats without spectators at the Hungaroring during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix." The 83-year-old "is widely seen as out of touch with social media and modern marketing activities." Mercedes F1 Dir Toto Wolff said that a small panel, which could include representatives from the media, "will attempt to come up with a raft of new ideas to arrest F1's decline." Wolff: "We have seen some great racing and some packed race tracks, at Austria, Montreal and Silverstone, but then we have seen smaller audiences here and at Hockenheim. Why is that? So we are going to come together and come up with ideas" (LONDON TIMES, 7/27). AUTOSPORT's Jonathan Noble reported former F1 Team Principal Flavio Briatore "is to be involved in a new working group" being set up by Ecclestone "to look at ways of making the sport more popular." Pressure has been growing on Ecclestone "to try to arrest a decline in television audience and spectator numbers this season amid concerns F1 is not embracing a new generation of fans." Ecclestone "met with team principals at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday morning and informed them that he plans to host a summit meeting over the next few weeks with a few outfits, plus Briatore, to consider ideas." Briatore "has not been involved in F1 since he had to step down at Renault in 2009 due to his part in fixing the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix" (AUTOSPORT, 7/26)

Supermarket chain Real "has hit back at the German Football Federation (DFB)," according to FOCUS ONLINE. The chain "has filed a request with the patent office to delete the DFB's jersey logo as a trademark." The DFB "generates several million euros annually through the licensing of the logo." The round logo with the eagle in the middle "is also on the jersey of the German national team and has likely increased in value after the team won the World Cup title in Brazil." According to law, national crests along with national insignias "cannot be protected as a trademark." The question is "whether the DFB logo is such an insignia." The eagle in the DFB logo "looks very similar to the eagle in Germany's coat of arms." The reason for the request "is a dispute between Real and the DFB." The DFB "has taken action against Real products that show a similar logo." A Munich court spokesperson said, "It is about football mats and fan clothing." The court is expected to make a decision on the issue on Aug. 7. Should the "cancelation of the trademark be successful, it would influence the court case" (FOCUS ONLINE, 7/23).

League Championship side Brentford FC announced a new partnership agreement with sports betting exchange Matchbook is now the official betting partner of the club. The logo will be displayed on Brentford’s home and away kit for the upcoming '14-15 campaign. In addition, there will be extensive advertising at Griffin Park including the branding of the stadium roofs with its logo. Griffin Park is visible on the Heathrow Airport landing route, one of the largest advertising platforms in the U.K. (Brentford FC).

Real Madrid has "reportedly sold an incredible 345,000 James Rodríguez replica shirts" since signing the player last week, according to Simon Rice of the London INDEPENDENT. Figures from Euromericas Sport Marketing indicated that in the 48 hours after Rodríguez was introduced by Real Madrid, £20M ($34M) worth of shirts were sold. Euromericas CEO Gerardo Molina was quoted by Spanish newspaper Sport as saying, "The expectation is that the player (James) will sell product at the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo, who has sold over one million shirts since arriving at Real Madrid." The sales "ensure a quick return for Real Madrid on the huge fee they paid Monaco for the striker" (INDEPENDENT, 7/25).

La Liga side Valencia and Spanish bank CaixaBank on Friday signed an agreement in which the bank becomes one of the club's official sponsors for the next three seasons, according to SUPERDEPORTE. Through the agreement, Valencia fans who are registered with CaixaBank will receive tickets for the '14-15 season. Valencia President Amadeo Salvo and CaixaBank Territorial Dir Bibiano Martínez attended the presentation of the agreement. The partnership will allow CaixaBank to install a third bench at Valencia's home stadium, giving its clients the opportunity to enjoy Valencia matches at field level (SUPERDEPORTE, 7/25).

Spanish third division side Cultural Leonesa on Tuesday presented a special edition shirt to be worn in a preseason tournament. The shirts are black but "painted like a tuxedo." That the BBC wrote about a shirt from Spain's third division "is a sign that though the aesthetic value of the shirt has been questioned, there is no doubt of the echo it generated." The shirts also sold out, "with the club selling 5,000 shirts by Saturday, easily surpassing the initial projection of 1,000 sales" (EL PAIS, 7/26). ... W-League side Canberra United signed a front of shirt sponsorship deal with the University of Canberra. As part of the deal, sports studies and communication students will be able to undertake internships with the team (Canberra United). ... Hydraulic hose and fitting supply company ENZED signed on as back of jersey sponsor for National Rugby League side Cronulla Sharks for the remainder of '14 (Sharks).