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Volume 6 No. 235

Marketing and Sponsorship

Premier League shirt sponsorship has "changed beyond recognition since the days when Queens Park Rangers promoted Classic FM and Blackburn Rovers McEwan's Lager," according to Jack Pitt-Brooke of the London INDEPENDENT. Just as the league has "modernised, globalised" and become a "magnet to foreign interest and foreign money, the shirt sponsorship market has followed." This season will see "just four" U.K.-based brands on Premier League shirts, the "lowest number in history." Not "unconnected to that," this season will see nine bookmakers as shirt sponsors, "one down from last season's record of 10." Looking at the changes in shirt sponsorship over time "shows how clearly the market has changed." When the Premier League started in '92-93, the "biggest sectors for shirt sponsorship were consumer electronics, with six deals, and beer, with four." Electronics and beer remained a "steady presence" through the '90s before "dwindling" in the '00s. Last season, there was "just one beer sponsor," Chang Beer on Everton's shirts. It has since been replaced. This year, for the first time in Premier League history, there will be none. While beer partnerships are "still part of the fabric of English football," those brands "do not take quite the same direct approach as they used to." Sports marketing firm Synergy CEO Tim Crow said, "The market reflects a changing dynamic among alcohol brands, as beer brands have moved away from shirt sponsorship." Online gambling is "becoming bigger and bigger business." While only Bet365, which sponsors Stoke City, and BetWay, which sponsors West Ham United, target the U.K. betting market, there has been a "recent rise in investment from foreign bookmakers." They are "far less interested" in the U.K. markets, and "more in the global audience the Premier League provides." That is why Sport Pesa, ManBetX, Fun88, LeTou, M88, Dafabet and Ope Sports -- brands "not especially well-known" in the U.K. -- are now seen every weekend (INDEPENDENT, 8/14).

South Korea-based business conglomerate Hanwha's logo was written on the cap of In-kyung Kim "when the female golfer raised her trophy for the cameras" at the Women's British Open, according to Park Jae-hyuk of the KOREA TIMES. When Haru Nomura won the Texas Shootout in May, the Korean-Japanese golfer was "also wearing her cap and orange jacket decorated with Hanwha's logos." Korea's eighth-largest conglomerate was "not the only Korean company that sponsored winners of the LPGA Tour tournaments this year." Korean firms have "already sponsored 10 Korean female golfers who have gained victories this season." KB Financial Group has supported Lee Mi-hyang, who won the Ladies Scottish Open, and Park In-bee, who won the HSBC Women's Champions. Industry officials said that golf teams "allow companies to make huge profits with relatively low investments." Founding a golf team is "known to cost a few million dollars in general." Given that the "whole world watches the competitions," however, the "effectiveness of advertising and its impact on sales appear to be much higher than the costs." L&P Cosmetics, which founded the Mediheal golf team, "aims to expand the medium-sized cosmetics company's presences in the overseas market by sponsoring Korean and Chinese golfers" (KOREA TIMES, 8/14).

Premier League side Huddersfield Town renewed its partnership with Yorkshire-based outdoor clothing brand TOG24. The company's logo will be featured on perimeter board advertising and will provide Huddersfield Town's ticketing staff with jointly-branded product from the start of the '17-18 season. TOG24 is launching a new collection of outdoor and lifestyle clothing that will feature a new brand logo inspired by the Yorkshire rose. The club also renewed its deal with Rybrook Jaguar Land Rover for a second season. Rybrook will remain a sponsor of Huddersfield Town's boardroom. Building surveyor Lucas Lee & Partners will also sponsor Huddersfield Town as an official partner for a fifth year (Huddersfield Town).

British football player representation firm Stellar Group set down stakes in the U.S. by partnering with American firm Global Premier Management, which will now become Stellar USA, according to Liz Mullen of the SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Financial terms were not disclosed. Global Premier Founder Patrick McCabe said, "It is not an acquisition. It's really a partnership/merger." McCabe, who represents about 60 footballers, including Major League Soccer players in the U.S. and American players in Europe, will become president of Stellar USA Soccer and will be based in Boston. He will work with Stellar Group agents and Founder & Chair Jonathan Barnett. London-based Stellar Group has offices in Liverpool, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Brussels, Madrid and Munich, and represents more than 200 football players worldwide. McCabe said that he is partnering with Stellar to provide more access and opportunities for the U.S. football players he recruits and to help Stellar transfer its clients into MLS (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/14 issue). 

Liga MX side Club América released a team-branded wine. Fans will be able to buy a limited-edition wine available in two labels. One has a yellow label and will be called "El Coloso," a reference to the Estadio Azteca. The other, available in a black label, will be called "América" (LA AFICIÓN, 8/14).

The German FA (DFB) announced a new partnership with Oddset. The bookmaker will serve as the official betting partner of the DFB through '18. The German company will "benefit from a range of brand exposure on interview backdrops, as well as across the DFB’s website and social media channels" (SOCCEREX, 8/15).

Pro14 side Glasgow Warriors agreed to a three-year partnership with SP Energy Networks. The company's logo will be featured on the front of the club's home and alternate playing kit and on the roof of the Community Stand at Scotstoun Stadium for the next three seasons. The logo will also be featured on the Warriors retail kit from the '18-19 season (Glasgow Warriors). 

A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers announced a three-year deal with Nike Australia to be the club's official kit supplier. The partnership extension comes as the club launched its official '17-18 home and away kits. The deal will run through the '19-20 season, taking the club's association with Nike into its eighth year (Western Sydney Wanderers). 

Premier League side Crystal Palace and Utilita Energy extended their partnership, which sees the energy supplier remain the club's official energy partner and shirt sponsor of Crystal Palace Ladies (Crystal Palace). 

Pro14 side Connacht Rugby announced a four-year extension with Murray Timber Group. The two have been partners for three years. The Murray Timber Group name will continue to be featured on the club's home, away and European playing jerseys (Connacht Rugby). 

South Africa's Premier Soccer League announced league sponsor Absa renewed its relationship for five more years. The deal, now in its 10th year, will run through the '21-22 Premiership season (PSL). 

PSL side Cape Town City signed a four-year sponsorship deal with betting company SportPesa. The club now faces "being hauled over the coals and the possibility of stiff sanction." The club "had been warned" that it had not requested or received permission to use the new sponsor. League rules state that teams may not wear the advertising of their sponsor without prior written permission of the league, "which will not be unreasonably withheld" (TIMES LIVE, 8/14).