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Volume 6 No. 193

Marketing and Sponsorship

South Korean automaker Hyundai will not sponsor the China Ladies Open this year, officials in Seoul said Tuesday, amid an "escalating diplomatic row" over the deployment of an "advanced" U.S. missile defense system in South Korea, according to YONHAP. A Hyundai exec said that the automaker's Chinese unit, Beijing Hyundai Motor Co. -- a joint venture between Hyundai Motor and BAIC Motor Corp. established in '02 -- will not be the title sponsor for the CLO, which is part of the China Ladies Professional Golfers' Association Tour. The CLO has been called the Hyundai China Ladies Open since '10. The national championship of China "has been also one of the popular tournaments for South Koreans." Hyundai said that it will "pull out from the Chinese event because its title sponsorship deal has expired, emphasizing it has nothing to do with issues surrounding the THAAD missile defense system." But the local golf community "suspects that the automaker's decision is related to the situations in China." A Korean LPGA official said, "(Hyundai) didn't tell us why it's not going to sponsor the event. We just think Hyundai's declining sales in China have something to do with this problem" (YONHAP, 9/12).

Jaguar will launch a one-make Formula E support series in '18 that will be "the world's first championship for a production-based electric car," according to Scott Mitchell of MOTORSPORT. The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY will join the Formula E package for the '18-19 season, becoming its first dedicated support category. While details of the technical specification, calendar and price "will not be confirmed until next year," Jaguar's announcement that it will be a 10-round series suggests it will be featured at "all Formula E events." It will be capped at 20 drivers, including a "VIP" entry at each round, "while the format will comprise a practice and qualifying session and a 30-minute race." The series will coincide with the launch of the I-PACE, Jaguar Land Rover’s first all-electric vehicle, in the second half of '18. JLR's "special vehicle operations department will build the racing versions of the all-wheel-drive five-seater sports car," which should begin testing early next year. Jaguar Racing, which operates the Formula E team, will run the cars. JLR CMO Gerd Mäuser, the chair of the Jaguar Formula E team, said, "We've always said we want to prove our electrification technologies on the track -- this is the proof" (MOTORSPORT, 9/12). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported Mäuser expects the series to serve as a "ladder" for young drivers into Formula E. The series "is increasingly of interest" to major manufacturers, with Mercedes and Porsche due to enter season six in '19-20. Other manufacturers already involved in the electric series include BMW and Audi as well as Renault, Citroen and India’s Mahindra (REUTERS, 9/12).

League Championship side Derby County revealed that its longest-standing partner, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, extended its relationship with the club. Toyota has been an official partner of the club for more than 25 years. It signed a three-year renewal which will run until the summer of '20. Toyota will continue to sponsor the West Stand and showcase its branding on the interior and exterior of the stand. In addition, Toyota has an exec box at Pride Park Stadium. The automaker also retained the naming rights for the Toyota Suite, the Rams' most popular matchday hospitality option which hosts more than 200 guests for each home fixture (Derby County).

The World Surf League and Jeep announced a long-term renewal and expansion of their global partnership. Jeep will remain the WSL's exclusive global automotive partner and the naming rights partner to the WSL Jeep Leaders Tour Rankings for the men's and women's Championship Tour. The partnership dates back to May '15, when Jeep became the first exclusive automotive partner of the WSL. The renewal will run through '20, when surfing will make its debut on the world stage at the Tokyo Olympics. Jeep will continue to sponsor the Jeep Leaderboard and the Jeep Leader Jersey. A new Jeep Leader Jersey and new branding across digital and broadcast Jeep Leader graphics, as well as a locker room design for Jeep frontrunners, were unveiled at the Hurley Pro and Swatch Pro at Trestles, Calif. Jeep will sponsor six WSL Qualifying Series events in key markets around the world (WSL).

Japanese online retailer Rakuten signed the "largest of the NBA advertising patch deals this week," buying the space on the Golden State Warriors' jersey "for the next three years," according to Darren Rovell of Sources said that the deal is worth $20M a year, "nearly doubling the second-highest deal," signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers with Goodyear. The Warriors will "sport Rakuten's genuine logo with red and black on their white jerseys and a white version of the logo on the blue-and-slate jerseys." Warriors CMO Chip Bowers said, "We actually had multiple finalists. This was not the biggest deal that we were offered." Bowers added that the team "felt it was important for the deal to be done with a worldwide brand." Rakuten, which made San Francisco its North American HQ in '15, was "aggressive in its bid to land the deal." Rakuten Founder & CEO Hiroshi Mikitani "reached out to the team and showed up in person at the first meeting." Rakuten has "ratcheted up its sponsorship spending as of late." In July, its name "started appearing" on Barcelona's kit in a deal worth €220M ($263.2M) over four years. The Golden State sponsorship comes with "six other designations that last longer than three years." Rakuten will be the team's official e-commerce, video-on-demand and affiliate marketing partner. Rakuten's cashback website Ebates will become the team's official shopping rewards partner; its messaging service Viber will be the official instant messaging and calling app; and its bookstore Kobo will be the official e-reader partner (, 9/12). The deal also includes naming rights to the Warriors' practice facility, which will be called the Rakuten Performance Center. The practice rights component of the deal runs for two years until the team opens the new $1B Chase Center in San Francisco. The practice facility will be on the grounds of the new venue. This marks the first time the Warriors have had a practice center sponsor. The Warriors said that CAA Sports worked with the team on the deal (John Lombardo, Staff Writer).

Barcelona and Head & Shoulders announced a partnership deal in China that will see H&S' Super Fresh Male Line become the club’s official shampoo in China. The shampoo brand created the "H&S-Barça Locker Room," a tour of Beijing's Workers' Stadium, at the announcement of the agreement (Barcelona).

WWE announced Anheuser Busch, Mission Hills China, Cooper Tires and Gym Max will sponsor the first live WWE event at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center Arena on Sunday. WWE Live China marks WWE's return to China following last year's show at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai (WWE). 

Premier League side West Ham United announced an agreement with Hantec Markets as the club's official Forex partner. The company signed a three-year partnership and will take ownership of the club's fantasy football content (West Ham United). 

Cricket South Africa extended its deal with financial services company Momentum for the next five years. Momentum will remain the title sponsor of all one-day cricket in South Africa, as well as the naming sponsor of the national women's team. The new agreement also incorporates school-level developmental initiatives (Cricket SA).