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Volume 6 No. 213

Marketing and Sponsorship

Adidas "has the early lead in the shirt-sponsorship battle" that will accompany the 2018 World Cup, according to Richard Weiss of BLOOMBERG. With qualification for the tournament complete, the German company "has secured at least 11 jersey sponsorships," one more than Nike. While "the world’s biggest sporting-goods maker had a last-minute addition to its roster" after Australia beat Honduras to clinch the next-to-last spot, "several prominent Nike-sponsored teams -- including Chile, the Netherlands and the U.S. -- failed to qualify." The "sponsorship stakes are high," with Nike and adidas jointly selling almost $5B worth of football gear last year. While adidas has "at least one more team" than at the 2014 World Cup and Nike has two fewer, "the biggest change in sponsorship has hit smaller competitor" Puma. The brand had eight nations in the race in Brazil, "but four-time world champion Italy’s failure to win a spot means only Switzerland and Uruguay will represent the leaping-cat logo" at the '18 event. While FIFA shows Iranian players in adidas shirts on its website, the company said Thursday that it does not "have a World Cup deal with the nation’s team." New Balance and Umbro "each sponsor two teams participating," while Errea, Hummel, Uhlsport and Romai "have one each" (BLOOMBERG, 11/16).


Atlético Madrid signed a three-year, €45M ($53M) deal with its current shirt sponsor, trading platform Plus500, according to Oliver Gill of CITY A.M. The deal will start during the '18-19 season. Plus500's current deal with Atlético began in Jan. '15. Plus500 will not only be the club's main shirt sponsor. It will also be featured on the team's training jerseys and at its new Wanda Metropolitano stadium (CITY A.M., 11/16).

UPPING THE ANTE: MARCA reported Atlético's previous deal with Plus500 was worth €10.5M per season, while the new deal will be worth €15M ($17.7M) annually. Atlético CEO Miguel Ángel Gil said, "We believe that this agreement has proven itself and it supports our growth and progress. We hope to continue our journey with them in our new home" (MARCA, 11/16).

FRESH INVESTMENT: In Madrid, Alberto Lambea reported "until now," Israeli businessman Idan Ofer's family's only connection to football was Sammy Ofer Stadium, the home of Israeli side Maccabi Haifa. The stadium is named after Idan's father, Sammy, who contributed $20M to the stadium's construction. Idan reportedly agreed to purchase a 15% stake in Atlético earlier this week. His investment in the club will see Atlético carry out a capital increase of €50M ($59M), plus €50M more in sponsorship. The Ofer family "can be considered the richest family in Israel." Idan will invest in the club through his Quantum Pacific conglomerate (EL MUNDO, 11/16).

Barcelona announced on Thursday the results of a brand study by research firm Kantar Millward Brown. The study, which was carried out in September, looked at 10 markets: the U.S., Catalonia, Spain, China, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, India, Japan and Indonesia. Kantar Millward Brown concluded that Barcelona's brand is not only the most followed in world football, it is also among the world’s best-known sports brands. The club's appeal among women is growing, as the study found that 40% of the team's followers are women, including 42% in China, 44% in India and 40% in Turkey (Barcelona).

TOP OF THE LIST: In Madrid, Ramiro Aldunate reported Barcelona spokesperson Josep Vives said, "Barcelona is the most followed and most loved club in the world." According to the study, Barcelona is the most-followed football team in the U.S., China, Japan, Brazil, Turkey and Mexico. In India and Indonesia, Barcelona occupies second place (MARCA, 11/16).

LANDING SPOT: In Barcelona, Joan Poquí reported the Barcelona women's team that will compete in the U.S. "is expected to make its debut in '19." The National Women's Soccer League team will reportedly be located in California, with San José being ruled out. Santa Monica "is likely to be where the team is based" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 11/16).

Ahead of the fourth edition of the Indian Super League, Mumbai City "has upped the ante on its marketing and sponsorship," according to Shekhar Pundir of INDIAN TELEVISION. Mumbai City CEO Indranil Das Blah said, "Sponsorship has been significantly better than the last three seasons. We sold our entire inventory and the sponsorship amounts have been increased by 50 percent compared to last year." A source said that teams in the smaller markets have a sponsorship range of 50M rupees-60M rupees ($770,000-$920,000) and the teams in big markets including Kerala, Chennai, Goa, Mumbai and Kolkata have a sponsorship range of 120M rupees-150M rupees ($1.8M-$2.3M). Mumbai City's title sponsor has been Ace Group for three years. Its back-of-shirt sponsor is Spicejet and "on the right chest the jersey has OkSir," one of India's app-based service aggregators. The team "is expecting to close four other sponsors." It is planning to add more sponsors "through licensing deals that will not be on the jerseys." The club is "planning to go with outdoor and digital marketing this season." Blah: "We are concentrating a lot on digital marketing because our young audience spends more time on internet than on TV. ... Our marketing is not focused towards generating revenue but to improve the Mumbai City FC brand." The team will also increase its fan engagement activities this season (INDIAN TELEVISION, 11/16). TELEVISION POST reported Blah said, "We are expecting a 20-25 percent revenue growth this year. While ideally, you would want long-term deals, this season will be different. That is because matches will be played from Thursday-Sunday as opposed to every day." He added, "The sponsorship market will see how this season pans out before taking longer-term bets. If the league does well then the price point will increase. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to a certain amount. So we decided to see how this year goes" (TELEVISION POST, 11/16).

Serie A side AC Milan reportedly signed a five-year kit supply deal with Puma. According to Italian soccer outlet Calciomercato, the deal will be worth €12M ($14.1M) a year, €8M ($9.4M) less than adidas provided. However, it is thought that "bonuses and add-ons will be higher" with Puma than with adidas (SOCCEREX, 11/16).

Cricket Australia announced Wrigley signed as a league partner of the Big Bash League for the upcoming season. The agreement also sees Extra chewing gum become the official gum of the BBL. The three-year deal builds on Wrigley's first year as an official supplier of the BBL (CA). 

The European Tour partnered with Tata Communications to build a global tech platform that will help to underpin the digital transformation of golf. Tata Communications will distribute the video feeds from 47 European Tour tournaments in 30 countries and across five continents to 40 broadcasters (European Tour). 

Serie A side AS Roma named Uber its innovation and mobility partner. The agreement includes numerous activities and initiatives for the current season (Roma). 

Formula 1 team Scuderia Toro Rosso renewed its partnership with Casio Computer Co. in a two-year agreement to start in January. Casio and EDIFICE logos "will appear on the drivers' racing suits, as well as on the nose sections of the team's race cars" (ANI, 11/16).

League Championship side Cardiff City announced VideoDoc as its official digital partner. The online medical consultation service will sit alongside the club's social media channels and official club app (Cardiff City).

Indian Super League side Chennaiyin named Apollo Tyres its principal sponsor for the '17-18 season. The association is Apollo's first partnership with an Indian football team. Apollo is the global tire partner for ManU and EPL side Crystal Palace (PTI, 11/16).

Sponsorship for the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia has been "on the overdrive with a clutch of deals secured earlier this week." In a deal reportedly worth $7M, Tokyo-based firm Otsuka Pharmaceutical is "poised to provide Pocari Sweat as an official sports drink and Soyjoy as an official energy bar." Meanwhile, Swiss watch brand Tissot will again be the official timekeeper of the Asian Games in a deal worth an estimated $885,000 (ASIA SPONSORSHIP NEWS, 11/16).

The Uganda Premier League announced Fortebet, the biggest betting company in Uganda, sealed a sponsorship agreement with the league. Fortebet becomes the first local betting company to sponsor a local football league (RED PEPPER, 11/16).

Ligue 1 side Nantes renewed its sponsorship deal with Flamino. The company becomes an official sponsor of the club and its logo will be featured on the back of the players’ shorts (Nantes).