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Volume 7 No. 108

Marketing and Sponsorship

Ben Ainslie lands a major sponsor for his America's Cup campaign.
Photo: getty images

Ben Ainslie announced a "radical shake-up" of his America’s Cup team, with manufacturing company INEOS "ploughing" £110M ($153.2M) into his challenge to bring sport’s oldest int'l trophy "back to Britain," according to Tom Cary of the London TELEGRAPH. As part of its investment -- "the biggest ever British America’s Cup investment" -- INEOS will take over naming rights, with Ainslie’s name "no longer forming part of the official team title." The Portsmouth-based team "will henceforth be known as INEOS Team GB," as opposed to Land Rover BAR, the BAR having stood for Ben Ainslie Racing. Existing sponsors Land Rover and 11th Hour Racing "have left," with INEOS' £110M investment "contingent on the team making a completely fresh start." New sponsors Belstaff, Limewood and Projekt Grenadier "are part of the INEOS stable." The deal will effectively see INEOS "hire" Ainslie’s race team lock-stock, "with most of the key players remaining in situ." Ainslie will stay on as team principal, Grant Simmer as CEO, Nick Holroyd as chief designer, Jono Macbeth as sailing team manager and Giles Scott as tactician (TELEGRAPH, 4/26).

'AMAZING BOOST': REUTERS' Alexander Smith reported INEOS Founder & Chair Jim Ratcliffe said, "We have a first-class team and will do everything we can to bring this trophy back to Britain where it belongs. ... This is an amazing boost for British sport." Ainslie said that his previous commercial partners were disappointed but had been "incredibly gracious." INEOS Team GB will now represent the "historic" Royal Yacht Squadron’s affiliated club, Royal Yacht Squadron Racing (REUTERS, 4/26). The BBC reported Britain's challenge will consist of two 75-foot foiling monohulls designed by Nick Holroyd, "who was behind New Zealand's winning boat" in '17 (BBC, 4/26).

An EU court has allowed Lionel Messi to register his name as a trademark.
Photo: getty images

Lionel Messi "may register his name as a trademark for sports equipment and clothing," the EU’s second-highest court said, ruling he is "famous enough to overcome phonetic similarities with Spanish bicycle clothing brand Massi," according to Robert-Jan Bartunek of REUTERS. The case reached the EU General Court after the Spanish brand "successfully complained" to the EU Intellectual Property Office. The EUIPO said that Messi and Massi were "almost identical visually and phonetically and some would find it difficult to the tell the two apart, but the court disagreed." The court said on Thursday, "Mr Messi is, in fact, a well-known public figure who can be seen on television and who is regularly discussed on television or on the radio" (REUTERS, 4/26). The BBC reported the Barcelona and Argentina striker "fought a seven-year fight to be able to use his name on sports goods." The ruling comes days after France Football magazine reported Messi "had overtaken Cristiano Ronaldo as the highest earner in football," with an income of €126M ($153M) (BBC, 4/26).

Organizers expect the Women's Super League to land a title sponsor soon.
Photo: getty images

The FA is "hopeful of securing a lead sponsor for the revamped Women's Super League, although one may not be in place by next season," according to Tom Garry of the BBC. But FA Head of Marketing & Commercial for Women's Football Marzena Bogdanowicz said that women's sport can no longer simply be seen as a "bolt-on" for financial backers of men's sport. The top four tiers -- run by the FA -- have been restructured for '18-19. The new leagues' names "could have title sponsors but no deals have been agreed." Bogdanowicz: "I would rather make sure we have the right partner, with the right long-term benefit for the game, than to rush anything through for September." She added, "There's a chance for someone to come forward across all different areas. We're looking at the Women's Super League and all the other tiers. They're all separate propositions" (BBC, 4/26).

ManU's kits for the '18-19 season "will help to reduce pollution," with adidas committed to making the new third shirt out of recycled ocean plastic, a leak claimed. Pictures of a dark blue ManU shirt appeared online on Thursday, with FootyHeadlines.com claiming it to be the third kit for the new season (London DAILY MAIL, 4/26).

ManU and Uber are bringing Old Trafford to Bengaluru, India, to surprise a ManU fan and allow him to be the first fan to experience Uber's 360 Old Trafford Destination United Experience. The ride-sharing company created the experience as part of its global "Destination United" campaign, which is supported by Copa90 (ManU).

Paris St. Germain, in association with AIM Sport, is introducing a new Digital Overlay technology at Parc des Princes. The system will allow the club to geo-locate the advertising displayed on the LED screens surrounding the pitch and adapt messaging to fit an int'l TV broadcaster's audience. The technology, which was utilized during PSG's match against Monaco on April 15, allows club partners beIN Sports, Ooredoo and QNB to broadcast messages in English, Arabic and Bahasa (PSG).

Formula 1 confirmed Pirelli as the title sponsor of the 2018 Grand Prix de France, the first race in the country since '08. Pirelli Head of Car Racing Mario Isola said, "As France is one of the biggest markets, it was key for us to reinforce our visibility and our presence on the circuit and the paddock." The race will take place from June 22-24 at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet (F1).

Pro14 announced the O'Callaghan Collection will be the official hotel partner for the Pro14 Final Series, which will conclude in Dublin's Aviva Stadium on May 26 (Pro14).

Pro14 side Cardiff Blues confirmed Macron as its new technical sponsor ahead of the '18-19 season. The Italian sporting apparel company replaces Canterbury (Cardiff Blues).

The Drone Racing League world championship series extended its deal with insurer Allianz as its title partner "to five years," with a race in Nice, France, added to the schedule. DRL said in a statement on Thursday that Nice's Allianz Riviera football stadium would host the June 16 event (REUTERS, 4/26).

Ski jumping event Vierschanzentournee announced Polish sportswear manufacturer 4F as its presenting sponsor for the next four years. The deal was struck by Infront (Infront).

ESL announced Vodafone will be its "premium partner" for all future Extreme Masters, ESL One and ESL Pro League events. The partnership includes a new live broadcast segment, "The Vodafone View," as well as activations at the events. The partnership is also designed to "promote diversity and female participation in esports." Vodafone will be a partner for the ESL Women's Sydney Open (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 4/26).
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