The Asian Football Confederation reportedly requested A-League side Sydney FC to "cover all signage" at its home stadium, including that of naming rights sponsor Allianz, for the Asian Champions League campaign, despite the company "being one of the primary sponsors of the tournament and the AFC," according to Dominic Bossi of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The club reportedly received "special dispensation" to turn off the lights that illuminate the large "Allianz Stadium" on Wednesday, but the club "could be forced to undergo the expensive process of covering the sign going forward." Previously, the AFC has been satisfied with the stadium's sponsor sign "merely being made less visible for night games," with the lights turned off, but is understood to have ramped up its "already strict approach to marketing and sponsorship." Sydney FC declined to comment, but sources suggested the club "could be forced to pay to cover the signage at the entrance for every other game." The process "requires engineers, expensive equipment and workers to access the roof of the stadium to cover the large sign," with the process costing about A$50,000 ($39,279) to temporarily erect and remove blank canvases over the signs. This is "on top of" the A$70,000 ($54,991) the club spends on covering all other non-sanctioned signage and advertising inside the stadium and around the precinct (SMH, 2/13).
Marketing and Sponsorship
Williams secured a "fresh sponsorship boost on the eve of the season," with tech company Acronis joining the Grove-based Formula 1 outfit from Toro Rosso, according to Jonathan Noble of MOTORSPORT. Acronis has been involved in F1 with Toro Rosso since '16, and more recently announced a partnership with the Renault e.dams team in Formula E. While it is "set to remain a partner of Toro Rosso, albeit in a less high-profile manner," the Singapore-based company decided that its "main push" in F1 will now be with Williams. Rumors of a switch to Williams "first surfaced last year" when driver Sergey Sirotkin was linked with the team -- with Acronis' CEO being Russian-born Serguei Beloussov. But the company has "denied that its decision to move to Williams was dependent on Sirotkin getting the race seat." Acronis President John Zanni said, "For us it was totally unrelated. It had to do with the technology" (MOTORSPORT, 2/13).
Melbourne Cup prize money is expected to "grow significantly" after the Victoria Racing Club confirmed Lexus' five-year sponsorship deal as club Chair Amanda Elliott "scuttled suggestions the nation's oldest race would be caught up in a stakes war with The Everest," according to Leo Schlink of the HERALD SUN. Worth A$6.25M in '17, the Melbourne Cup remains Australia's "most cherished race." But Sydney's The Everest's A$10M ($7.9M) stake money "has irked Victorian traditionalists." Elliott said, "It's not about a competition. We don't do anything in response to what happens across the border. Good luck to them. I hope they survive 158 years. There'll be movement on the Melbourne Cup prize money this year." Asked how much movement, Elliott said, "I can't tell you that, that's another announcement." Lexus is only the fourth Cup sponsor since '85. Elliott said that the new sponsorship agreement would incorporate naming rights to the Melbourne Cup, Cup Day and the Cup tour, parade and barrier draw. A new sponsor is also "likely to be sought" for the Lexus Stakes, which is run on Derby Day and carries ballot-free status into the Melbourne Cup for the winner (HERALD SUN, 2/12). In Sydney, Cormick & Akerman reported trainer Gai Waterhouse "brushed off comparisons between the Everest and the Melbourne Cup." She said, "The Everest is a sprint race and the Everest is a very new race. The Melbourne Cup has been going over 150 years, it's a public holiday ... over 100 countries watch the race in the world. It's basically the race that stops the nation. I don't think you really can compare." Waterhouse "refused to buy into a debate about whether the Melbourne Cup needed to increase its prize money," adding, "Four or five million looks good when you win it, I can tell you" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/13).
Paris St. Germain will arrive for its Champions League match against Real Madrid in "some style" as the club "showed off the customised aeroplane" it will be flying on its journey to the Spanish capital. The airplane "includes huge images of some of the club's major stars" across the chassis and is "coated with a splash of PSG red and blue" (London DAILY MAIL, 2/13).
Barcelona announced it renewed its partnership with appliance brand Beko. The brand's logo has appeared on the left sleeve of Barcelona's shirts since '14-15 and Beko "now becomes the principal sponsor of the team's training shirt, while remaining on the shirt sleeve during games." Beko will be paying the club €19M ($23.5M) per season and the deal will run for three seasons. The club also confirmed the renewal of its sponsorship with beer brand Damm, which was renewed through '22 (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 2/12).
Brasileiro sides Grêmio and Internacional extended their shirt sponsorship deals with Apple's Brazilian retail partner, iPlace. Both agreements run for the rest of the '18 season and will see iPlace’s branding continue to be featured on the sleeve of each club's playing shirts. In addition, Internacional’s renewed deal will see iPlace "provide fans" with discounts and access to a customized product line (SOCCEREX, 2/13).
Mastercard teamed up with Pele to launch 22 Languages, a short-film which sees 22 football fans from around the world play a match and compete for 11 Champions League tickets. The 22 Languages film is part of Mastercard's #StartSomethingPriceless campaign (Mastercard).
The 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles announced Arnold Clark as the official vehicle provider and rental partner of the event that will take place from Sept. 9-15. As well as providing a fleet of vehicles, Arnold Clark will be featured in on- and off-course branding and at promotions around the country. It will be the only vehicle rental company that will be promoted by the Solheim Cup travel partners (Solheim Cup).
Emirates Cricket Board partnered with Al Nabooda Insurance Brokers to sponsor the UAE national cricket teams for '18, including the men's, women's, U19 and U16 sides. The one-year deal adds depth to the existing partnership between the ECB and ANIB, which is the board's official insurance supplier (ECB).