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Volume 6 No. 192

Marketing and Sponsorship

Premiership Rugby side Harlequins renewed and expanded its principal partnership with logistics firm DHL. The company presented the deal at The O2 in London with first team players Chris Robshaw, James Horwill, James Chisholm and Charlie Matthews, current academy members George Head and Max Coyle, and Harlequins Ladies Jess Breach, Hannah Field and Jess Wooden. The renewed partnership sees DHL retain its presence on the front of the shirt while extending its support to Harlequins' academy and EPDG structure, as well as the Harlequins Ladies team. DHL has been a partner of Harlequins since '12, and became the club's principal partner in '14 (Premiership Rugby).

Eredivisie club Ajax extended and expanded its partnership with IT firm PCI Nederland for five years, according to SOCCEREX. The company became an official supplier of the club four months ago and increased its commitment to become an official sponsor of Ajax through the '21-22 season. PCI will receive additional activation and hospitality rights, and "will also benefit from a more prominent brand presence at the team's training complex and Amsterdam Arena home ground." In return, PCI will work with the Amsterdam-based club on a new cloud infrastructure (SOCCEREX, 9/13).

The NBA Golden State Warriors on Tuesday signed a jersey patch deal with Japanese tech firm Rakuten, and they "deserve credit for drastically re-setting another NBA market," according to Dieter Kurtenbach of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. Most jersey sponsorship deals have been worth $5M-$7M per year, but the reported deal will be "twice as lucrative" as the next-largest jersey sponsorship deal to date in the NBA. Other teams could "surpass the Warriors' deal in the coming days," but the Warriors "pulled double the next-best deal," and Rakuten was not even the team's largest offer. Meanwhile, the Rakuten deal "makes sense" for both parties. Rakuten interests the Warriors because they "want to further entrench their brand in the growing Asian marketplace" (MERCURY NEWS, 9/13). NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann reported Japan is "untouched right now in the NBA brand." Liffmann: "There's just no one there. China is the next place everyone is going, so maybe the Warriors saw an opportunity and they said, 'Maybe we take over Japan.' Right now, the Warriors are the hottest team in the world, so maybe they can take over Japan and everyone will be wearing little Curry jerseys." NBC Sports Bay Area's Ray Ratto: "These guys laid out a ton of money in a market that appeals to Joe Lacob's Silicon Valley sensibilities" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 9/12). In San Francisco, Apex Marketing Group President Eric Smallwood said that Rakuten's logo is "expected to generate" $32-$37M in "equivalent advertising this season from TV, social media, video games and jersey sales" (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 9/13).

Serie A side Napoli agreed to continue its partnership with German automobile manufacturer Opel for the '17-18 season. The initial sponsorship agreement was signed one year ago. The car manufacturer is also "launching an initiative to promote the partnership, offering subscribers discounts to ongoing campaigns, and for specific car ranges" (SOCCEREX, 9/13).

Betfair extended its sponsorship of Haydock's Betfair Chase and Sandown's Tingle Creek, the Jockey Club announced. The firm, which has sponsored the Haydock feature since '05 and the Tingle Creek since '15, will now sponsor both Grade 1 contests through the '19 renewals (RACING POST, 9/13).

NHL Washington Capitals player Alex Ovechkin, an endorser for restaurant chain Papa John's in the U.S. since '15, will now be "pushing the pizza brand in his native Russia." Ovechkin will appear in TV and digital campaigns on Russian TV and websites. There are "around 120 Papa John's restaurants in Russia," where the brand first appeared in '03 (Terry Lefton, Editor-at-Large).