A new brand of horse racing "unique in concept and with a vision to attract blue-chip sponsorship from across the world" could launch in Britain next year, according to Lewis Porteous of RACING POST. Championship Horse Racing would center on a team competition with a scoring system similar to Formula 1, "pitting 12 global brands against each other in an eight-week summer series." Although "still in its infancy," plans are geared toward a '19 launch and would include:
Twelve branded teams "similar to Red Bull in F1 or Team Sky in cycling."
A £10M ($13.8M)-plus investment in British horse racing.
Six £100,000 ($138,236)-plus handicaps per meeting.
Squads of 30 horses and four riders per team.
The "driving force" behind the concept is former League Two side Swindon Town Chair Jeremy Wray, who hopes the series can "turbo-boost audience, prize-money and participation growth rates" as recently seen in other sports like the Twenty20 format of cricket and darts. Wray said, "I'm not going to claim to know where they're all going to come from, but I'd like to think there will be a couple of brands you or I haven't heard of because this is an opportunity for countries who are looking to break into the U.K." While racing has "struggled in the past to attract powerhouse brands to the sport," Wray is "confident the concept of owning a team makes this a very different beast to traditional race sponsorship." He said, "If you think more Indian Premier League than F1 here, it could almost become a brand playground if you go to the right people" (RACING POST, 2/12).
The "long-term relationship" between outgoing Melbourne Cup sponsor Emirates and Victoria’s spring racing carnival is "almost certainly over," as the airline revealed it was set to cut its sponsorship of the A$2M ($1.5M) Emirates Stakes after talks with the Victorian Racing Club "stalled," according to Nick Tabakoff of THE AUSTRALIAN. Emirates Communications, Marketing & Brand SVP Boutros Boutros said that Emirates had not agreed to terms with the VRC. He said, "They sent us a proposal, we didn't like it. It wasn't financially suitable for us." In December, the airline "placed a number of its Australian sponsorships under review." Boutros "wants more sporting partnerships with global exposure, and catering to specific markets." He said that meant Emirates "planned to hang on" to its A$7M ($5.5M)-plus sponsorship of Australian Open tennis, given its "massive" int'l profile, but "ditch the VRC sponsorships that have less of a global profile." At this stage, he "plans to hang on" to Emirates’ A$2M a year sponsorship of Australian Football League side Collingwood and its partnerships with the Sydney and Melbourne symphony orchestras. News of Emirates' "likely departure" from the racing carnival came on the day the VRC confirmed that luxury carmaker Lexus would replace the airline as the VRC's principal partner and the new sponsor of the Melbourne Cup on a multi-year deal (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/13).
Romanian tennis player Simona Halep confirmed a new contract with Nike, according to ROMANIA INSIDER. She posted a photo on her Facebook page, in which she is dressed in a Nike outfit, accompanied by the message: “Just Do It. I just did it.” The contract’s value has not been made public yet but local media reported that Halep will get $2M per season from Nike. The deal will bring the Romanian player $800,000 "more per season than the previous one she had" with adidas. Halep ended her contract with adidas at the end of last year because the group was not "willing to increase her contract" (ROMANIA INSIDER, 2/12).
Brasileiro side Cruzeiro partnered with Axial Medicina Diagnóstica. The medical diagnostics firm will be a commercial partner of the club and will "also serve as the official medical team of the club." Axial’s branding will be featured on the uniforms of the on-pitch medical team at Cruzeiro’s games "as well as on the clothing of all the team’s doctors and physiotherapists" (SOCCEREX, 2/12).
ManU and South Korean pharmaceutical company Cho-A Pharm extended their agreement in South Korea and Vietnam. The partnership began in '14 (ManU).
Everton extended its contract with U.K. sports travel operator Thomas Cook Sport. The company will continue to be the club's official match breaks partner and create activations for fans (Everton).
AC Milan announced an official long-term partnership with Puma. The brand becomes the club's official partner, global technical supplier and official licensing partner (AC Milan).
Eredivisie side Ajax partnered with Hewlett Packard Enterprise through June 30, 2023. For HPE, the collaboration means a second technological partnership with a football club after its previous connection with Tottenham (Ajax).
Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby confirmed Leicester City owner King Power will be the title sponsor of the first Wheelchair Rugby Quad Nations tournament to be held in Leicester in March. Leicester Arena will host the event (GBWR).
Pro14 Rugby revealed Honda Ireland as the official car partner of this season's Pro14 Final Series. The final takes place in Dublin on May 26 (Pro14).