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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

The Int'l Rugby Board will undergo a "second name change in 16 years when it becomes formally known as World Rugby in November as part of a rebranding programme," according to Greg Stutchbury of REUTERS. The new brand, "including a revised logo, will be launched at the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition in London" on Nov. 17-18, with the new name taking effect from Nov. 19. Growth in player numbers and "expansion into new markets as well as the sport's reintroduction to the Olympic Games" in '16 had prompted the "decision to rebrand itself." IRB Chair Bernard Lapasset said, "We are committed to furthering that growth beyond our traditional family and fan base with a public that expects to be entertained, informed and interacted with. This move is more than just a name change, it is a mission statement" (REUTERS, 8/28). In London, Owen Slot wrote the IRB is "now 128 years old." Yet on Nov. 19, it will go "willingly to its deathbed and hope, in the process, to lose the image of a group of men in suits sitting round boardroom tables, making decisions and fiddling with the laws of the game." While the change in name could "simply be dismissed as an exercise in marketing speak and semantic tinkering, there is no doubt that the IRB has come to embody the fustier old-school face of rugby." The change of name is intended to "reflect the body's wish to be less a group of administrators governing body and more a body that promotes the game around the world." IRB CEO Brett Gosper said, "The name IRB has been a bit of a handicap in our development process. The change is almost so obvious, it’s extraordinary it has not happened before" (LONDON TIMES, 8/28). Gosper added, "World Rugby collectively has the ingredients and tools to do just that. Rugby's global appeal is founded and positioned on its unique character-building values and inclusive ethos and we want everyone to feel connected with the sport and Rugby's ongoing success story" (SKY SPORTS, 8/28).

America's Cup organizers have appointed Harvey Schiller commercial commissioner for the 35th America's Cup. The role will give Schiller responsibility for supervising, managing and protecting the commercial interests of the America's Cup. He was formerly exec director of the U.S. Olympic Committee, president of Turner Sports, chairman of YankeeNets, and president of the Int'l Baseball Federation. He has served on the America's Cup Advisory Board since '10. Schiller said, "This is an exciting time to be involved in the America's Cup. ... Our job now is to translate those opportunities into growth of the event for the benefit of all participants. As such, I'm extremely gratified to see how the teams have started working together with such a high level of cooperation over the past few months." Schiller starts the role with immediate effect. Items on the to-do list include finalizing the America's Cup World Series schedule, format and venues (America's Cup).

NEW BRAND STRATEGY: The America's Cup Event Authority has partnered with SME, Inc. N.Y. to develop a new brand strategy, identity and architecture for the organization and 35th America's Cup (SME).

Bank of Ireland announced the extension of its Pro12 rugby side Leinster sponsorship until the end of June '19. The new five-year deal includes exclusive branding of all playing and training kits for Leinster and will see Bank of Ireland expand the sponsorship to make an additional six-figure investment, over five years, to develop the amateur game. The new investment in amateur rugby in the province will look to develop the game across all levels. The sponsorship will enhance the support for development officers, coaching materials, equipment and the coach development program across Leinster. The sponsorship will also provide support for youth rugby camps and recognize the club, school, player and coach of the year (Leinster Rugby). The IRISH INDEPENDENT reported the new agreement is "believed to be worth in the region of" €6M ($8M). Just over 15% of the money "is understood to have been ring-fenced for the promotion of the amateur and underage game throughout the province" (IRISH INDEPENDENT, 8/28).

Betfred "will launch its first brand campaign and its inaugural spot from Brothers and Sisters" on Friday, ahead of the second weekend of the new Premier League season, according to Kate Magee of CAMPAIGN LIVE. According to Brothers and Sisters, the campaign is the first "pure brand campaign," with no odds or offers featured. The 40-second commercial "will go live" on Saturday across Sky Sports and BT Sport. Alongside TV, "the campaign will run across digital and press as well as featuring in all 1,400 of Betfred’s nationwide stores." The spot "was created by Brothers and Sisters" and directed by Bruce St. Clair through Biscuit Filmworks. Betfred Group Marketing Dir Gemma Strath said, "It is very different for a betting company but we are confident that our new campaign will stand out in a very cluttered market place. The Betfred brand is all about entertainment and fun and that's what this new campaign conveys" (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 8/28).

Newly-promoted Serie A club Empoli secured a shirt sponsorship "from online banking brand Bancadinamica" for the '14-15 season. Bancadinamica’s logos "will appear on the back of the team’s kit." No financial details were made available (SOCCEREX, 8/27). ... A-League side Adelaide United announced that Veolia furthered its commitment to the club as a major partner, by continuing to feature on the "front of shirt" for a further two seasons (Adelaide United). ... A-League side Melbourne Victory confirmed Community Training Initiatives as its joint principal partner. The company will be featured on the front of the home shirt for the next two seasons. Community Training Initiatives provides customized training and assessment programs, helping people in trades get their skills and knowledge certified (Melbourne Victory). ... League Two side Oxford United announced an extended partnership with following a five-month trial. The partnership has seen sponsor selected Oxford boys' and girls' youth teams, and the advertising includes perimeter boards at the home of the Oxford United women's team in Abingdon. In addition, and OUFC have developed a coaching program aimed at local schools, delivering around 360 hours of coaching at 20 different schools (Oxford United). ... The Lotus F1 team will be sponsored by Chinese electronics firm Hisense for three races at the end of this season. Hisense will appear on the sidepods of the E22 at both the Italian and U.S. grands prix, and will be featured less prominently in Abu Dhabi, where it will be displayed on the airbox (CRASH, 8/28). ... The World Baseball Softball Confederation named LG Electronics the title sponsor of the WBSC's new Int'l Women's Baseball Tournament (WBSC).

Bundesliga side FC Augsburg renewed its partnership with automotive parts retailer Reinhard Kastner for another season. In addition, local utility provider Stadtwerke Augsburg has extended its partnership with the club for a further three years. Kastner and Stadtwerke Augsburg will receive ad space on static boards and LED boards at the SGL arena along with tickets to home games. Both extensions were brokered by sports marketing agency Sportfive (FC Augsburg). ... Bundesliga club FSV Mainz agreed to a new partnership with special glass producer Schott AG for the '14-15 season. The company will be present on LED boards during home games at the Coface Arena (FSV Mainz). ... Second Bundesliga club VfL Bochum signed a new sponsorship deal with online mobile phone retailer and provider Sparhandy. The Cologne-based company will be visible on boards and through commercials during home games at the rewirpower Stadium (VfL Bochum).