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Volume 7 No. 109

Marketing and Sponsorship

Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu (left) and Koç Holding VP Ali Y.Koç.

Barcelona on Thursday confirmed a three-year extension to its existing sponsorship agreement with electronics brand Beko, which will see the Turkish firm sponsor the team’s training kit, according to Richard Martin of REUTERS. The club did "not give financial information about the deal," which local media reported was worth €57M ($71M). Beko currently sponsors the left sleeve of Barça’s shirt and the back of its training kit as part of a deal signed in '14. Beko's name will now be front and center on the team’s new training kit. Barcelona is the only team in La Liga to have a sponsor on its training kit, mimicking ManU's "pioneering deal" with logistics firm DHL in '11. Beko's deal to sponsor Barça’s training kit "eclipses 14 out of the 20 Premier League club’s sponsorship agreements for their first team kit," according to figures from sportingintelligence (REUTERS, 2/15). In Barcelona, Ángel Pérez reported Beko "joins Nike and Rakuten as one of the club's three principal partners" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 2/15). Also in Barcelona, Sergi Solé reported next season, Barcelona's shirt "will likely be worth" more than €200M ($250M) including the sponsorships with Nike and Rakuten (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 2/15).

Loch Lomond Group CEO Colin Mathews (L) with The R&A CEO Martin Slumbers (R).

Scottish whiskey distiller Loch Lomond Group agreed to a five-year partnership with The Open, according to Gillian Furmage of the SUNDAY POST. The company's range of single malts will become "The Spirit of the Open." The new deal will see Loch Lomond Whiskies creating a "variety of limited editions, aimed at both golf fans and whiskey aficionados" (SUNDAY POST, 2/15). INSIDER's Kristy Dorsey reported the deal with the R&A includes support of the Women's British Open. The partnership with The Open is "effective immediately" and runs through '22, covering the "landmark" 150th Open in '21 at St. Andrews (INSIDER, 2/15).

McLaren Exec Dir Zak Brown says team is on course to add more sponsors.

McLaren Formula 1 Exec Dir Zak Brown said that his team is "on course to add more sponsors to its new-look car" before the start of the new F1 season, as he predicts it hitting its '18 revenue targets, according to Jonathan Noble of MOTORSPORT. Having this week confirmed a major new partnership with computer company Dell, Brown "expects further deals will be sorted before racing gets underway." He said, "Everything commercially is going really well. We announced Dell, so we are now three announcements in. I would anticipate having another one or two before the start of the season and then it is ongoing." Brown has been "clear for months now" that there will be "no new title sponsor as such for McLaren, but he still sees other opportunities for a major partner to deliver a big financial boost." He said, "We don't want a title sponsor, but let me clarify what that means. We do want a principal partner, which is title-level branding." McLaren is "close" to finalizing a new look for its car in '18, which "could include a switch to the team's more historical papaya orange colours" (MOTORSPORT, 2/15).

Dentsu already owns Calif.-based Athletes First.

The NBA Players Association said that it reached a "broad agreement" with Japan's leading advertising agency, Dentsu Inc., to "develop content and create and stage global events that feature the union and its members," according to Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG. Until recently, that kind of collaboration was "functionally off-limits." For more than 20 years the NBA had paid the union -- last year, about $41M -- for the marketing and licensing rights to its 400-plus members. The league then "turned around and parceled them out to corporate partners and sponsors." The players union decided it could "do better making its own deals, and last year, took control of its own licensing and marketing deals." For Dentsu, the tie-up with some of the world’s "most popular athletes" will help "cement its sports foothold" in the U.S. It already owns Athletes First, a sports agency based in Laguna Hills, Calif. A separate entity, the newly-created Athletes First Properties, will "work closely" with Dentsu Aegis Network, a London-based consortium of companies that manages Dentsu’s business outside of Japan (BLOOMBERG, 2/14).

In addition to press conference backdrops, Funai will have a presence behind home plate at Angel Stadium

The MLB L.A. Angels on Wednesday announced the first "significant financial windfall" from pitcher/outfielder Shohei Ohtani's presence, signing a deal with Japanese electronics company Funai, which will "sponsor the backdrop at Angels press conferences and some advertising at Angel Stadium," according to Jeff Fletcher of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. The Angels are "clearly capitalizing on the eyeballs certain to follow Ohtani's every move." Ohtani this week arrived at spring training in Tempe, Ariz., and on Wednesday held a press conference "packed with about 200 media members" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/15). In L.A., Mike DiGiovanna reported Funai will "receive advertising on the home-plate rotational sign in Angel Stadium and Tempe Diablo Stadium" (L.A. TIMES, 2/15). Meanwhile, the L.A. Times' Pedro Moura said that Ohtani's personal endorsements are "going to skyrocket" with his arrival in the U.S. Moura: "He was already taking in several million a year in Japan. That's only going to increase here in the U.S." MLB Network's Chris Russo said, "He has to play well, though, to get the endorsements. If he pitches lousy and doesn't hit, nobody's going to care." Moura: "If in four months he proves to be a 4.00 ERA guy and just kind of an average pitcher, then yes, I would imagine that's going to cost him. At the same time, if he did that in Japan, it would've cost him in two years, too" ("High Heat," MLB Network, 2/14).

Rugby Australia and Australian Beer Company's Yenda brand signed a "long-term official beer partnership for the Wallabies and Super Rugby competition." Australian Beer Co., which is jointly-owned by Casella Family Brands and Coca-Cola Amatil, said that the three-year deal spans the '18, '19 and '20 seasons. Financial details were not disclosed (JUST DRINKS, 2/14).

Seven Network was announced as an official supplier for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The sponsorship agreement "further strengthens" its involvement with the Games, as the network acts as the Australian broadcast rights holder. Seven is also the joint host broadcaster with NEP Group and Sunset+Vine. It is the first time the network has been a sponsor of a Games (INSIDE THE GAMES, 2/14).

The Odisha government will sponsor Hockey India's teams -- both men's and women's -- for the next five years. This is the "first time a state is sponsoring a national hockey team." It also unveiled the logo that will be featured on the teams' new jerseys, which is a "summation of Odisha" (IANS, 2/15).

La Liga side Valencia extended its partnership with transportation network company Cabify. The Spanish startup "will continue to collaborate" with the club for the remainder of the season (SOCCEREX, 2/15).

OVO Energy announced a two-year partnership as title sponsor of the 2018 and 2019 Tour Series, Women's Tour and Tour of Britain. The OVO Energy Tour Series is Britain's leading domesticated televised race series (Tour of Britain).

The Alliance of European Hockey Clubs and ice hockey equipment manufacturer Warrior Sports Inc. announced a three-year partnership. The two parties introduced an annual award to promote European club hockey (EHC). 

Investment management firm Warwick was named a new sponsor of South African rugby sides Stormers and Western Province as associate sponsor and wealth partner, respectively. The Warwick logo will be featured on the chest of the teams' jerseys (SPORT24, 2/15).

Pringles and ESL extended their collaboration following the companies' initial sponsorship deal for last year's ESL One Hamburg event. The brand is looking for "a long-time commitment" with the events organizer and the new agreement will see Pringles sponsor "multiple ESL events in Germany and internationally." Pringles will be ESL Meisterschaft's grand sponsor, and will also "be present" at Gamescom Cologne, ESL One Cologne, and IEM Katowice (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 2/15).

HyperX was named the "official and exclusive headset provider" for the two largest Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege events of '18. The gaming headsets manufacturer sponsors the Six Invitational in Montreal, which started on Tuesday and will run until Sunday and offers a prize pool of $500,000. HyperX will also sponsor the Six Major Paris in August, which features a $350,000 prize pool (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 2/14).
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