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Volume 10 No. 23

Marketing and Sponsorship

Italy national football team coach Antonio Conte "will earn more than any other Italy coach before him thanks to a deal with kit sponsors Puma," sparking questions over a possible conflict of interest, according to the AFP. The former Juventus boss "was named the new coach of Italy on Thursday on a two-year contract," and will be paid €3.2M ($4.28M) a year -- with more than half coming from Puma. Conte "can also boost his earnings with bonuses linked to qualifying the team for the Euro 2016 finals as well as improving his team's world ranking, currently 14, to among the top eight." But Puma's role in securing Conte for the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) -- the first time any such deal has been made in Italy -- "has left many critics fearing the sponsor will wield too much power." La Repubblica's Maurizio Crosetti asked, "How will Conte deal with the players who have contracts with the same sponsor who is paying his salary? Who will have the final say when it comes to renewing a contract?" La Stampa's Stefano Semeraro warned that "sport has always been tied up with questions of ethics ... but this summer Italian football has had to deal with the interference, real or feared, of commercial interests" (AFP, 8/15).

With Financial Fair Play "forcing clubs worldwide to maximize their revenue streams, the once-humble kit deal is now more important than ever before," according to ESPN. What used to be a "local, pragmatic endeavor -- you sponsor it, we wear it -- has become a global statement of commercial intent." ESPN evaluated all 20 EPL teams' kits "using a simple measure: the worth of this season's manufacturer deal combined with the worth of this season's sponsorship deal." In an animated graphic displaying each club's home, away and alternative kits, ESPN answers the question, "Which clubs have the 'most valuable' kits (MVK) in 2014-15?" The ranking is led by ManU ($108.9M), which is followed by Arsenal ($100M), Chelsea ($80M), Liverpool ($75M) and Man City ($53.4M) in the top five (ESPN, 8/17).

The announcement of the return of Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, "loudly heralded" by organizers this week, "overshadowed the fact that Hong Kong's oldest professional sporting event," the Hong Kong Open, has still not been able to attract a corporate sponsor, leaving its financial future on "shaky ground," according to Alvin Sallay of the SOUTH MORNING CHINA POST. It was felt bringing the tournament forward from December last year to October "would make the event more attractive as it now falls into this season's Race to Dubai." The Hong Kong event "is now one of the last stops before the finale in Dubai and in theory it should be a must stop for the top golfers on the European Tour." But with "paltry prize money" of $1.3M, the leading players "can afford to ignore Hong Kong to play in other tournaments which offer far more prize money, like the four-tournament Final Series ending in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai." A title sponsor "would see the prize money increase." Last year, Hong Kong Golf Club "came in at the 11th hour and agreed to underwrite the tournament" where the prize money was reduced to $1.3M. Despite assurances from the Hong Kong Golf Association and the European Tour that a sponsor would be found, the tournament is "still in limbo" (SCMP, 8/16).

Football Federation Victoria and W-League side Melbourne Victory have "renewed their partnerships with Jetts Fitness and Banking on Football," according to GOAL. The Jetts logo will "appear on the front" of the Victory's matchday jerseys for a "second successive season, with players and coaching staff set to receive free 12-month memberships to the gym chain." Banking on Football, meanwhile, will "retain its position on the lower back of the players' shirts." Both sponsors will also "continue to support the efforts of FFV" in growing women's football throughout the state (GOAL, 8/14).

Bundesliga side Hamburg SV has signed a new sponsorship deal with German food company Bahlsen for the '14-15 season. The company's two brands, Leibnitz and Pick Up!, will be visible during home games on boards in camera view. In addition, the brands will be featured on the clothing of the club's youth academy as well as on the jersey of team mascot Hermann. The deal was brokered by Sportfive (Hamburg SV). ... Bundesliga club Hannover 96 has renewed its deal with Bahlsen for another season. The company has been a partner of the club for five years (Hannover 96). ... Pro12 side Edinburgh Rugby announced the appointment of sports tour specialists Venatour Ltd. as the club's official travel partner. The sporting experience company will now oversee all of the team's travel requirements, including flights and hotel accommodation, and create selected travel deals for Edinburgh Rugby fans for games on the road in the Pro12 and European Rugby Challenge Cup (Edinburgh Rugby). ... EPL side Southampton announced a global partnership with Garmin as its official navigation and fitness device partner. The club will engage with Garmin -- whose European headquarters is found in Southampton -- on a number of initiatives  (Saints FC). ... A-League club Sydney FC extended its relationship with the Australian Careers Business College by signing it as the club’s Australian marquee player partner for one year. ACBC will be aligned with the club’s record goal scorer Alex Brosque until the end of the '14-15 season. As part of the deal, ACBC will be afforded match day branding alongside Brosque’s headshot during the squad announcement on the scoreboard, matchday sponsorship for two games and other benefits (ISPORTCONNECT, 8/15). ... The Zumtobel Group and Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund signed a partnership agreement. The partnership will be shaped by the Zumtobel Group’s two lighting brands, Thorn and Zumtobel, and will run for a five-year term. Along with various lighting projects, the partnership will include customer programs aimed at electricians, electrical planners and wholesale dealers of both brands (Zumtobel Group). ... Ryder Cup Europe announced that FedEx will be an official supplier to the 2014 Ryder Cup. FedEx is a long standing sponsor of the FedExCup and the FedEx St. Jude Classic on the USA PGA Tour. However, this is the first time the company has supported the Ryder Cup (European Tour). ... Adidas will end its partnership with the Nigeria Football Federation this year. The contract between adidas and the NFF runs out this year and the German brand has stated that it "will not renew its relationship with the football federation" (SUPERSPORT, 8/15).

BOLT EXTENDS: Usain Bolt revealed Friday that "he will put back his planned retirement until 2017 at the request of his sponsors." The six-time Olympic Gold Medalist and 100m and 200m world record holder "had intended to retire from the track after the 2016 Rio Olympics, but he told a news conference Friday that he will compete for a further extra year." Bolt: "I think I'm going to do another year. My sponsors asked me to do one more year, so I will compete until 2017" (AFP, 8/16).