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Volume 10 No. 24

Marketing and Sponsorship

The FA is set to sign a "blue-chip sponsorship" for England and the FA Cup to "replace the ditched gambling-sector contract with Ladbrokes," according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. Korean electronics company LG, which has "numerous sports sponsorship tie-ups around the globe," is understood to be close to agreeing to a deal with the FA for around the £4M ($5.4M) a year that Ladbrokes was paying. It will "be a relief for the FA to attract a proven sponsor in what is a crowded market with plenty of competition from other sports offering title opportunities." The Ladbrokes deal was terminated in June, "only one season into a four-year agreement." The FA board decided it was "no longer appropriate for the ruling body to have a betting sponsorship when FA rules prevent anyone professionally involved in the sport from gambling on football" (DAILY MAIL, 9/18).

Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund signed a commercial agreement with health insurance company IKK Classic, according to SOCCEREX. IKK Classic becomes a third-tier sponsor of the club for the remainder of the '17-18 season, "with an option to extend." The German company "will have a strong brand presence through pitchside LED boards" at the Westfalenstadion. Although the financial terms of the agreement have not been released, German outlet SPONSORs reported IKK Classic will pay the club €600,000 ($720,000) for the one-year deal. In addition, the two parties launched "a new microsite on which health tips are offered," and will organize grassroots and youth training camps. Both initiatives will be run under the tag line "Fit as a Borusse" (SOCCEREX, 9/19).

Unstoppable, "screams the cover of Maria Sharapova's just-released memoir," according to Oliver Brown of the London TELEGRAPH. This "must be received with at least an arched eyebrow by Serena Williams," who has stopped her on each of the last 18 occasions they have played each other. But it is true that "Brand Maria," if not the player, "remains impossible to subdue." Asked about "those scornful of her return after a 15-month ban for meldonium," a prescription heart drug, Sharapova "bristles." She said, "I don't think it's for them to have an opinion, really, because they don't have the facts. Those are the types of words that make headlines, and they will be used as headlines." Classic Sharapova: "a choreographed list of no information, all delivered with a turn-of-the-heel hauteur." With "so many unanswered issues neatly side-stepped, she is back on the PR wagon, laying on the victimhood with a trowel." Legitimate criticisms are "brusquely" dismissed as "comments not based on facts -- therefore I don't take them into consideration." Within four months of her ban expiring, she is releasing an autobiography that "can only be construed as a naked attempt at monetising the perceived injustice of it all." There has "never been an athlete more lavishly rewarded for a doping violation." Sharapova earned an estimated £15.5M in endorsements over 12 months, despite not playing a single match. Her racquet sponsor, Head, was "among the most risibly craven of all, airbrushing the folly of her transgression to coin the social media hashtag #WeStandWithMaria." Tennis is a sport that "circles the wagons faster than pioneers on the Santa Fe Railroad." The "crux of Sharapova's unabashed efforts at rehabilitation is that she has yet to display even an ounce of remorse" (TELEGRAPH, 9/18).

Chelsea and official beer partner Singha extended their relationship for two years. The commitment continues the club's longest-running partnership, which began in '10 and has seen Singha served exclusively at Stamford Bridge since, with more than 330,000 pints poured at the stadium each season (Chelsea).

League Championship side Aston Villa announced Utilita as its official energy partner and official energy supplier. Utilita branding has been installed on the dugouts at Villa Park and will also be prominent next to each goal. The company will have its logo displayed on LED perimeter signage and elsewhere on the club's digital platforms (Aston Villa).

A-League side Melbourne City announced McDonald's as its official restaurant partner and official coffee partner, as well as the presenting partner of the the City Cup 2018 tournament. The McDonald's logo will be featured on the men's shorts during the '17-18 season (Melbourne City).

Bundesliga side Mainz extended its partnership with mobile communications company WES Kommunikation. Neither financial terms nor duration of the deal were disclosed (SOCCEREX, 9/19).

Serie A side AC Milan signed a partnership with Belgian online casino operator StarCasino that will "span the next two football seasons." The company specializes in live in-play betting (GAMBLING INSIDER, 9/19).

The ATP announced J.P. Morgan as a platinum partner and official banking partner of the ATP Finals. This year's event will take place from Nov. 12-19 at the O2 Arena in London. It will welcome more than 250,000 fans and generate a global TV viewership of more than 100 million (ATP).

Elite Ice Hockey League side Belfast Giants announced ferry company Stena Line will be the team's title sponsor in '17-18 for the seventh successive year (Belfast Giants).

The World Baseball Softball Confederation announced motor oil brand ENEOS as the presenting partner of the official WBSC baseball and softball world rankings (AROUND THE RINGS, 9/19).

The Ghana national rugby team unveiled the Panafrican Equipment Group as its new kit sponsor. The sponsorship includes an "undisclosed cash amount" and will run until '18 (JOY SPORTS, 9/19).