Etihad Airways was named the "preferred airline for flying English athletes" to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, according to Phil Davies of TRAVEL WEEKLY. The airline will fly Team England to the games on the Gold Coast of Queensland. Etihad Airways will fly more than 650 Team England athletes and support staff to Australia next year. Team England preparations begin in Brisbane with a holding camp from March 19 with the games starting on the Gold Coast on April 4 (TRAVEL WEEKLY, 12/8).
Marketing and Sponsorship
The IOC's ban of Russia from the PyeongChang Games likely means additional medals for Team USA, and the "subsequent ratings bump for NBC telecasts" are likely to please USOC sponsors, according to Kevin Draper of the N.Y. TIMES. A dearth of Russian athletes will "make Americans more competitive and more likely to win medals," which has been an "essential ingredient for a highly watched and financially successful Olympics" among U.S. viewers. NBC Broadcasting & Sports Chair Mark Lazarus said, "There is no doubt that our audience likes to see Americans performing well." The IOC's ruling "delivered much-needed buzz and attention to an event that research and slow ticket sales suggest has been severely lacking in both areas." Lazarus said that the scandal "took the story 'off the sports page and onto the front pages,' which could bring more viewers." Experts added that Russia's absence "should not harm" IOC TOP sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Visa, Samsung and Toyota. Most TOP sponsors have long-term contracts and will applaud the IOC's decision, "because it might restore public confidence in the organization and show it is committed to preventing cheating athletes from competing" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/8).
Ferrari Formula 1 is reportedly in talks with Philip Morris-owned electronic cigarette brand iQOS to replace outgoing sponsor Banco Santander. The brand "would not violate the rule that prohibits tobacco advertising in F1" (AS, 12/10).
Trek Bikes became co-title sponsor of the British Drops cycling team for the '18 season, a move which the company said will increase its "stature and performance in the field of professional women’s road racing." The announcement came on Thursday, when the team confirmed the signing of American 2017 Tour of the Gila winner Tayler Wiles for '18 from the UnitedHealthcare squad (CYCLING WEEKLY, 12/8).
Starting in February, 2degrees will be the exclusive telecom partner for all five New Zealand Super Rugby teams. The telecom will get its logo on the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders' jerseys. 2degrees did not "put a dollar value on the sponsorship," which runs through '20 (NBR, 12/8).