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Volume 6 No. 193

Marketing and Sponsorship

The decision by the French Open to deny Maria Sharapova a wild card "surprisingly received the full support of the Russian's racket sponsor," according to Stuart Fraser of the LONDON TIMES. Tennis equipment company Head CEO & Chair Johan Eliasch believes the French Tennis Federation (FFT) "made the right call not to hand Sharapova a spot in the draw." However, Eliasch "laid the blame for one of his most prominent clients missing the second grand-slam event of the year at the door of the World Anti-Doping Agency." Since Sharapova announced her failed doping test last year, Eliasch has "repeatedly made the case" that meldonium "should not have been made a prohibited substance." Eliasch said, "I fully support the grand slam tournament's decision. I don't think there should be wild cards for doping offenders. Yes, I am disappointed, but rules are rules. What also disappoints me is the fact that WADA has not conducted their business properly, that disappoints me more than the fact that Maria is not playing. What I think is still very wrong is the fact that WADA has been allowed to enforce the rule without any form of evidence or clinical testing. If WADA is to have any credibility, they have to stick to their own rules." WADA has always insisted, however, that "proper procedures were followed." A spokesperson said Wednesday, "The WADA List Expert Group undertook a very thorough consultation process in 2015. Following this process, it was determined that meldonium was being used by athletes with the intent of enhancing performance" (LONDON TIMES, 5/18).

TV SNUB: In London, Kieran Gill reported Sharapova's "French Open exile will extend to media coverage," with Eurosport and ITV to "snub signing the Russian as a pundit" for the tournament. Neither broadcaster has "plans to invite Sharapova into their studios" (DAILY MAIL, 5/17).

Bundesliga side Schalke's new jersey "will have an integrated chip that will allow the wearer to pay for services" as part of the club's new sponsorship agreement with online supermarket AllyouneedFresh, according to the AP. The club said that it will bear the AllyouneedFresh logo on its shirt sleeves and added that the logo contains a payment chip "so that all fans can pay with their jerseys" in its stadium. Fans will be able to use it to "purchase sausages and beer, for example." The deal is to run for four years from next season. Kicker magazine reported the agreement is worth around €20M ($22.2M) to Schalke (AP, 5/18).

Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund unveiled its new home kit for next season, according to Amitai Winehouse of the London DAILY MAIL. The traditional yellow shirt "has a black motif and will also be worn for the last game of the current Bundesliga season against Werder Bremen and the German Cup final in Berlin." Dortmund and designer Puma are "encouraging supporters to send in messages of support." During the game against Bremen, the players "will wear those messages as motivation" (DAILY MAIL, 5/18).'s Stephan Uersfeld reported Borussia Monchengladbach is not "pleased" with Borussia Dortmund's new kit. Monchengladbach is still "seemingly holding a grudge" over Dortmund's decision to adopt the word "Borussia" in its name, and has now accused Dortmund of "stealing" its current kit design (, 5/18).

EuroLeague Basketball signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Spanish energy company Endesa. Endesa is now an official regional sponsor of the EuroLeague and EuroCup. The Endesa brand will be present at each of the competitions' events at Spanish venues as well as on broadcast and digital platforms. EuroLeague Chief Business Development Exec Roser Queraltó said, "The trust that major brands like Endesa are placing in EuroLeague Basketball to reach a worldwide audience is constantly growing. They see that our leagues perfectly connect to the fans with a quality message that speaks their language" (EuroLeague).

Liverpool signed a multi-year partnership with baby products company Joie, according to Richard Bell of BDAILY. The deal, spanning three years, will make Joie the club's first family partner and global baby gear partner. Kicking off this weekend at LFC World in Shanghai, the agreement will see the firm host a two-hour football clinic with Reds coaches for kids ages six to eight. The company will also launch a range of LFC-branded baby products and "host a series of family-focused events with the club" (BDAILY, 5/17).

Bundesliga side SC Freiburg renewed its partnership with Baden-Wurttemberg. From next season, the insurance company "will become a premium sponsor" of the club, "expanding from its current position as a classic sponsor," a role the group has held since '04. The two-year deal is expected to be worth $400,000 a season, according to (SOCCEREX, 5/18).

Colombian int'l footballer James Rodríguez is "being punted around to clubs" on the back of a marketing deal to "try to secure a big-money transfer." It is believed agent Jorge Mendes is "looking for an English club" with the agreement that if he signs, it will be partly funded by the player's personal kit sponsor, adidas, which will pay 20% of his wages through its own marketing, image rights and shirt sales (London DAILY MIRROR, 5/17).

Brasileiro side São Paulo announced an extension of its sponsorship deal with private banking company Banco Intermedium. As part of the new deal, which will run until June '20, the bank’s logo will "now be imprinted on the front of the team’s shirts as well as on the back." Additionally, MRV Egenharia, a construction company also owned by Brazilian businessman Rubens Menin, "will have its brand displayed on the shirt’s shoulder" (SOCCEREX, 5/18).

The Int'l Cricket Council announced a partnership with Aspall to become the official cider partner for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which will be staged in the U.K. from June 1-18. This is the first time Aspall has partnered with cricket. Aspall products will be available at the three tournament venues as well as the Fan Park in Birmingham (ICC). 

One Championship announced a partnership with GoDaddy. Both companies will work together to elevate MMA's popularity in Asia. GoDaddy branding will be featured at One: Dynasty of Heroes which will take place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 26 (One Championship). 

Barcelona and Nef reached an agreement making the real estate firm a regional partner of the club until June '19, with the possibility of extending the deal through '20. The deal increases Barcelona's presence in Turkey, a strategic market for the club's expansion (Barcelona). 

ADI and Supponor, with the support of Lagardère Sports, installed a virtual hybrid perimeter digiboard system for the Bundesliga match between Eintracht Frankfurt and VfL Wolfsburg, showcasing virtual replacement technology for a range of stakeholders. The system is the product of two years of development, combining perimeter LED technology from ADI with Supponor's augmented reality solution (Supponor). 

Surrey County Cricket Club agreed to a deal for Unibet to become the club's official betting partner for the '17 season. The partnership with Surrey and The Oval is the latest in a series of sponsorships undertaken by Unibet (The Oval).