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Volume 6 No. 212

Marketing and Sponsorship

Sky Bet extended its multi-million pound sponsorship deal with the English Football League until the summer of '24, according to the BBC. The gambling operation is the "headline sponsor" for the League Championship, League One and League Two football divisions. It "gets its logo on shirts" and rights for "Bet and Watch" for some matches. Sky Bet said that it will "try to discourage problem gambling through messaging on shirts, and that clubs will benefit through more money." The deal, which is worth "tens of millions of pounds," has been in place since '13. Sky Bet said that it would be paying 20% more than it has done so far to extend the agreement from '19-24 (BBC, 11/17). CAMPAIGN LIVE's Matthew Chapman reported news of the deal "comes as gambling advertising comes under increasing scrutiny" from the U.K. government. The Australian government has "gone as far as to ban TV gambling ads during matches." Recent research revealed around 95% of ad breaks during live U.K. football matches "feature at least one gambling advert" (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 11/17).

'RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING': CAMPAIGN LIVE's Omar Oakes reported Sky Bet is claiming a gambling industry first with an ad dedicated to promoting "responsible gambling." The spot, fronted by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling, broke on Saturday "across the paid-for broadcasters' suite of sports channels." Stelling addressed the viewer directly in the 30-second ad saying that Sky Bet is putting the Senet Group's responsible gambling slogan, "When the fun stops, stop," at the top of the ad instead of at the end. Sky Bet is a member of the responsible betting campaign by the Senet Group, an independent body set up to promote responsible gambling standards. Sky Bet Marketing Dir Rob Painter said that the brand felt putting responsible gambling as the focus of an ad was "the right thing to do before anyone tells us to do it." The ad was shot six weeks ago and is "one of a half-dozen spots that will break in the coming weeks promoting different sports betting, such as football and horse racing" (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 11/16).

DRAWING CRITICISM: In London, Paul MacInnes reported the EFL's decision to "deepen its relationship" with Sky Bet drew criticism from campaigners, who claimed the deal is another step to "normalising" a practice that creates "widespread social harm." Gambling Watch UK Dir Jim Orford said, "There is increasing concern about problem gambling and the effect of gambling on young people. We also know how popular football is with young people, especially young men. Yet the relationship between football and gambling only continues to increase." The deal was also "met with disapproval" by GambleAware, the industry-funded body which promotes responsible gambling. The group has "encouraged the use of messaging to raise awareness" but its CEO, Marc Etches, was "critical of the measures proposed by the league." Etches said, "We are concerned about the effect further exposure to gambling will have on the younger generation. Today's news confirms that gambling advertising in sport has now reached a tipping point and we run the serious risk of normalizing an adult activity for young people" (GUARDIAN, 11/17).

Nov. 11 has "transformed into one of the biggest online and offline shopping days in China," according to Nong Ruowen of YUTANG. The shopping festival “Double 11” was initiated by Alibaba in '09 and celebrated its ninth edition on Nov. 11 this year. As "usual," various retailers and brands "launched their online-and-offline promotion campaigns," including Chinese domestic sports brands. Anta's online sales figure for Double 11 was 670M yuan ($101M), an increase of 66% from last year’s edition of the shopping festival. It reportedly took 9 hours for Anta to break the 400M yuan ($60.3M) record. In the first 8 minutes of the day, its sales figure reached over 100M yuan ($15M), which took 30 minutes for Anta on November 11, 2016. In terms of sales figures, Li-Ning ranked second with 215M yuan ($32.4M). Another Chinese sports brand, Xtep, took third place on the list. This year, Xtep's online sales figure reached 207M yuan ($31.2M), 83% more than last year (YUTANG, 11/14).

GMR Marketing opened a Tokyo office to handle business related to the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the Tokyo 2020 Games. To lead the office, the agency hired Satoshi Saito as director of sponsorship planning & activation. Saito was previously the Japan FA's deputy marketing director, where he was in charge of int'l match operations. Before that, Saito worked as the Asian Football Confederation marketing director out of Malaysia. GMR Head of Global Sports/Entertainment Consulting Adam Lippard called Saito a “perfect hire” because of his rare combination of local expertise and global marketing experience. The Japanese market will be complex for GMR because of Dentsu’s dominating presence and the fact that two key hospitality service providers, KNT and JTB, are also Tokyo 2020 sponsors. “I’ve got to find someone who can just as easily speak to the Visas and P&Gs of the world as they can the [Tokyo 2020] partners, and it’s not easy to find that fluent English, global sensibility,” Lippard said. The GMR Tokyo office will eventually staff up to about 20 people as planning for the Rugby and Olympics events peaks. 

Adidas, a "long-standing" sponsor of FIFA, "would have a problem" with the global football body if it was found to have broken the law by a U.S. investigation into bribery, CEO Kasper Rørsted told German newpaper Bild. Rørsted: "We expect from our partners that they abide by the laws. If a partner is convicted, we have a problem with that. We then have to solve that." Adidas' contract with FIFA runs until '30 (REUTERS, 11/19).

Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion announced a partnership with TR Fastenings for the '17-18 season. The Sussex-based manufacturer will see its branding featured on LED boards around the club's Falmer stadium. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed (SOCCEREX, 11/17).

Serie A side AC Milan "entered into a one-year strategic partnership" with sport and outdoor technology brand Nilox. The Italian-based manufacturer becomes the club's new official electric mobility partner. It will have a strong brand presence through pitchside LED boards at the side's San Siro stadium, as well as its digital and social media platforms (SOCCEREX, 11/17).

La Liga side Real Betis signed a cooperation agreement with UNICEF "to carry out health, nutrition and education programs in developing countries." The club will offer financial and image support for actions carried out by the non-profit organization "focused on child vulnerability" (SOCCEREX, 11/17).

Arsenal signed an agreement with digital money transfer business WorldRemit to become its first official online money transfer partner. WorldRemit will work with first-team players to create unique content to engage fans. In addition, exclusive events and experiences will be offered to WorldRemit customers (Arsenal).

Serie A side AS Roma named Volvo its official car partner in a three-year deal. Volvo Car "will make a fleet of 40 cars available" to the club. In addition, the brand will be featured around the Stadio Olimpico on matchdays (THE DRUM, 11/16).

Formula E appointed CSM Sport & Entertainment "to handle global and local PR." It will be responsible for delivering sport and lifestyle media coverage in key markets including the U.K., the U.S., Germany, France, Italy and Brazil. The project will be led by CSM Communications Dir Paul Garbett (PR WEEK, 11/17).