Football Federation Australia "called for patience" with its A-League marketing strategy after "lacklustre" TV ratings and "stagnant attendances" raised concerns whether the competition "has reached its maximum appeal in its current format," according to Dominic Bossi of the THE AGE. The first three rounds of the A-League "have attracted an average audience of only 112,000 viewers on Network Ten's One," a 15% decrease from the average ratings from the opening three rounds of last season when televised on SBS 2. It has been an "uninspiring start to the partnership with a major free-to-air network and its subsidiary channel but there is no sign of panic just yet" within FFA. A-League Head Greg O'Rourke said, "I'm not concerned if we stay on the track that we're building at. I would be concerned if this is where we land." FFA "withheld much of its marketing budget for the A-League for the latter stages of the competition," rather than its launch, "in hopes of gradually attracting more followers, viewers and attendees" during the middle and latter stages of the season. O'Rourke: "We expect it will take another good six or seven weeks in building it with their branded products like The Project and The Back Page to cross-promote the game so people know where to find it. We will be landing at over 150,000 or 1.5 times the Fox basis" (THE AGE, 10/22).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Snack brand Pringles announced it will be sponsoring the upcoming ESL One Hamburg competition, according to Graham Ashton of the ESPORTS OBSERVER. Pringles will have on-the-ground activations at the "Major tier" Dota 2 tournament. This is "the first sponsorship of a large-scale esports event for the snack brand." Pringles will have its "own gaming area" at the Hamburg tournament, a presence at the team hotel and a "small public viewing area." The brand is supported by agency Jung von Matt/sports, which has "already brought several non-endemics into esports," such as Vodafone Germany and Dr. Pepper Germany. ESL One Hamburg will take place in the city’s Barclaycard Arena from Oct. 28-29 (ESPORTS OBSERVER, 10/20).
Chinese mineral water brand Ganten continued an "obvious change in its spending patterns" after securing a five-year deal with the Australian Open, according to ASIA SPONSORSHIP NEWS. Financial terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed. Ganten is "gunning" for marquee int'l sporting deals this year. In June, it "scored a three-year global partnership" deal with Juventus. It also has deals with the ATP Shanghai Masters and the WTA China Open. These acquisitions "now put it as the second largest sponsor for its category" (17.1%, $28.3M) in the Asian Sponsorship market "since Q115." While it maintains two "key domestic sports partnerships" -- China Super League and the China Basketball League -- it "pulled the plug" on several other Chinese platforms such as the Beijing Birds Nest Half Marathon and the FIBA Asian Cup (ASIA SPONSORSHIP NEWS, 10/19).
League One side Blackburn Rovers named independent consulting firm The Energy Check its first-ever back-of-shirt sponsor through the '17-18 season. The deal follows the news of an official social media link-up with the company, which was unveiled last week. The Energy Check provides analysis on utility service and supply, and will support the club by engaging with fans and serving the local business community (Blackburn Rovers).
French manufacturer Michelin will continue to be the exclusive supplier of tires to MotoGP through '23 after agreeing to a new five-year deal with commercial rights holder Dorna Sports. Michelin "took over from Bridgestone" at the end of the '15 season (REUTERS, 10/21).