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Volume 7 No. 149

Marketing and Sponsorship

Formula 1 sponsor Heineken signed a five-year partnership with Formula E as the electric championship's official beer and cider partner, according to Alex Kalinauckas of AUTOSPORT. The deal, which was first discussed between the two entities in May "before being concluded swiftly in mid-July," will start with the FE '18-19 championship. Heineken's FE presence will first be seen at the season's third round in Santiago, with the company having "substantial pouring, activation and access rights" at that race as well as the events in Mexico City, Rome and N.Y. Heineken Senior Global Dir Gianluca Di Tondo said that the company's FE sponsorship will be visible at the remaining FE races "in which it will be legally possible to do so." He said, "The main thing that was attracting us to [FE] -- the first thing is Formula E is in cities and Heineken is a city-brand around the world. ... And the next thing is [that] Formula E is very intriguing for what we call the new target audience for us, the millennials and the Gen Z -- the audience that is already coming after the millennials. The third big reason why is [that] Formula E will give us a playground to play around digital assets -- a new way of communication, a new way of reaching the consumer." Di Tondo explained that Heineken is "not ready to reveal assets because we are starting the journey right now," but added that the company's "When You Drive Never Drink" campaign is "likely to feature" in FE, as are promotions based around city-life and sustainability (AUTOSPORT, 10/15).

Derbyshire County Cricket Club first partnered with 3aaa in '14.

Derbyshire County Cricket Club is assessing the potential impact of its "principal partner" -- Derby-based training provider Aspire Achieve Advance (3aaa) -- being placed in administration, according to Zena Hawley of the DERBY TELEGRAPH. The company, which was one of the biggest apprenticeship training providers in England, told up to 500 staff and 4,500 learners the news last Thursday and "immediately handed out redundancy notices and closed courses." The Department for Education, which "pulled the plug on funding to the company," submitted the findings of investigations into the firm to police via Action Fraud. The Derbyshire police department confirmed it is involved. A deal between the cricket club and 3aaa was first struck in '14, resulting in the ground being renamed The 3aaa Country Ground -- the first time the club had a naming rights partner. A report by education news website FE Week suggested the partnership deal "could be worth just under" £500,000 ($657,550) (DERBY TELEGRAPH, 10/15). In London, Rupert Neate reported police are "investigating allegations of fraud" by 3aaa. The company was placed into immediate administration after the Department for Education "pulled all of its funding from the firm" following an investigation. The "collapse" of the biggest apprenticeship provider has left 4,500 apprentices at companies including Ocado, Virgin, Volkswagen and National Grid "at risk of failing to complete their courses." The DfE's Education & Skills Funding Agency allocated more than £31M to 3aaa last year for apprenticeships and adult learning schemes. Separate to the fraud allegations, documents revealed 3aaa spent more than £1.6M ($2.1M) of its "mostly government-funded income" on professional sports sponsorship. The money was spent on sponsorship between '15 and 18, despite the firm recording a £2.8M in pre-tax losses in the 18 months to Jan. '18, according to unpublished company accounts (GUARDIAN, 10/12).

Football's popularity is "growing in India by leaps and bounds," according to Taruka Srivastav of THE DRUM. A recent study by Velocity MR observed that post-World Cup, Indian football fandom "received a great boost" and 84% of respondents claimed that they will support the Indian team in its upcoming matches. To exploit this opportunity, La Liga has "established itself in India." La Liga Head of India Jose Cachaza said, "India is one of our international strategic markets and we understand that interest of business in India is more as a future market than a present market. Nobody can overlook the fastest economy in the world, along with the fact that football is growing rapidly in the Indian market. Cricket is a religion in India, but football does come second." As to what steps are being taken by the organization to "further boost football's popularity in India," Cachaza highlighted the "importance of a direct relationship with people." He said, "We are following a 360 strategy and for us, digital strategy is fundamental because it allows us to connect directly to the fans. We are taking lot of attention to it as it shows that two years ago we had just 300,000 followers on social media and right now we have above 3.3 million." La Liga also announced a three-year broadcast partnership with Facebook for the Indian subcontinen. As part of the deal, Facebook will show all 380 matches live and free. Cachaza: "The important thing in this digital connection with fans is the new broadcast agreement with Facebook, in which all the La Liga matches can be watched for free on Facebook" (THE DRUM, 10/14).

Visa renewed its partnership with the IOC and IPC until '32. As part of the partnership, Visa "aims to enhance the fan experience and payment experience for fans globally by tapping into its 11 innovation centers" -- from Asia to Europe and the U.S. This includes remote, mobile ticket purchasing, in-seat ordering and new ways to pay at retail such as making a purchase from TV (THE DRUM, 10/14).

The NBA announced Norwegian airline as presenting partner of the NBA London Game 2019, which will feature the Washington Wizards playing the N.Y. Knicks at The O2 Arena on Jan. 17. The company will receive prominent brand exposure including event logo inclusion as well as on-court and in-arena signage (Norwegian).

The Int'l Volleyball Federation (FIVB) agreed to a four-year partnership with Chinese mineral water firm Ganten Water. Ganten will be present at all Volleyball Nations League matches and the FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship through '22. The agreement includes digital activations of the FIVB's events as well as dedicated TV and marketing campaigns (FIVB).

Premiership Rugby side Harlequins partnered with sports science technology company Kitman Labs. The club's game, training and injury data will be collected and processed in real-time via a mobile app and digital dashboards (Kitman Labs).

A-League side Western Sydney Wanderers announced investment firm Centuria Capital Group as its co-major partner for the '18-19 season. The brand will be featured on the front of the club's home jersey as well as the sleeve of its W-League jerseys and back of its Y-League and academy jerseys (Western Sydney Wanderers).

Barcelona extended its partnership with Samba Financial Group through June '23 to strengthen its brand in the Middle East. Samba became the club's first sponsor in Saudi Arabia in '13 (Barcelona).

The Women's Chinese Basketball Association announced BBMG Group as its official strategic partner. The WCBA will expand from 14 teams to 18 teams for the '18-19 season, "becoming the biggest professional women's basketball league in the world" (YUTANG SPORTS, 10/15).

The Aquilini Group, owner of the Vancouver expansion franchise of the Overwatch League, added Canadian esports organization Luminosity Gaming as its operations partner. The Aquilini Group also owns the NHL Vancouver Canucks and its home stadium, Rogers Arena (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 10/15).
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