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Volume 7 No. 149

Marketing and Sponsorship

Aston Villa's new owners have not ruled out selling the naming rights to Villa Park.

League Championship side Aston Villa’s owners will reportedly "consider a stadium rebrand" in '19 "as they continue to plan for the future," according to Gregg Evans of the BIRMINGHAM MAIL. A "well-placed source" said that the commercial opportunities at the club are under "constant negotiation" -- and that "selling the naming rights to the famous old ground would not be ruled out." At this stage, "there are no immediate plans in place" but majority Owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens "have made it clear that improving Villa’s revenue streams remains a focus." Villa Park -- the club's home since 1897 -- "has never had a sponsorship partner." But earlier this year -- and before the summer takeover -- Villa rebranded its Bodymoor Heath training ground for the first time, signaling a "change of approach." A five-year deal was struck with Recon, the conglomerate of former majority Owner Tony Xia, and brought in a reported total of £4M. It is understood that if the club "were to go ahead with the idea," it would "keep the current name in the title" (BIRMINGHAM MAIL, 11/10).

Responding to an aging fanbase, the ATP is rebranding and launching a new marketing campaign designed to pull in younger fans through social media and video content. The Tour, which will now be known as just the ATP Tour and not the ATP World Tour, plans to produce over 3,000 videos for social media channels next year.

"Our audience is getting older. When you go to the tournaments, you can see particularly on site it does tend to be a bit older," said George Ciz, the ATP's SVP of marketing & business development. "We are not worried about the next generation of players ... We are thinking of this next generation of fans, the younger ones are a real key focus for us." Ciz did not have audience age figures.

SportsBusiness Journal in '17 reported that the ATP had the second-oldest TV audience age, at 61, behind only the PGA Tour. The ATP will distribute a new video, featuring music from Slydigs, which jumps around feverishly from player to player in action. That video will be offered to the Tour's 63 tournaments and run on Tour programming channels. Individualized player videos are also planned.

The new logo features a player within the lettering of ATP, the first time the player has not been outside the lettering in an ATP logo. The last time it was changed was '09. The logo and content were created by U.K. agency Matta. The campaign will go live on Jan. 1. Ciz emphasized the campaign is proactive. The business of the ATP, he said, has never been better, with revenues up 60% in the last five years.

Serie A named 1xBet an int'l presenting partner from '18-21, covering Europe, Africa, the Middle East, North Africa and the Americas, according to Luke Massey of SBC NEWS. The announcement follows Interregional Sports Group’s renewal of the int'l presenting sponsor rights for Italy’s top football league -- "a category that ISG introduced to the market" for the '15-16 season. As part of the agreement, 1xBet will be featured in all match graphics, idents and virtual goal mat advertising across every live Serie A game on all platforms that are broadcast in the regions covered in the terms of the deal. In addition, 1xBet "will have extensive use of on and off-line assets," and will launch activation programs alongside the league in each of its territories (SBC NEWS, 11/12).

Formula 1 renewed its official champagne supplier deal with Champagne Carbon, which means "podium finishers will continue to spray its product for a further three years." The brand became F1's official champagne in '17. It is "renowned for its high-tech carbon fibre packaging" of the $3,000 magnums that are used by the top three drivers after each race (MOTORSPORT, 11/9).

Ivory Coast int'l Wilfried Zaha debuted "the latest football-inspired streetwear drop." The EPL side Crystal Palace forward was selected to front the new collection from Danish sportswear brand Hummel and L.A.-based street label 424, "which blends Hummel's heritage in football with 424's contemporary aesthetic" (VERSUS, 11/9).

FIFA and the local organizing committee added recruiting company Proman to their lineup of national supporters for the Women's World Cup 2019. Proman will be the official recruiter in France for the eighth edition of the tournament, taking place across nine host cities from June 7-July 7 (FIFA).

The China Volleyball League signed a partnership with Industrial Bank Co., Ltd., making online financial management platform Qian Da Zhang Gui one of the league's official partners. It is the CVL's first banking partner (YUTANG SPORTS, 11/12).

Doubts over Pakistan's participation in the Hockey World Cup were cleared after the owner of a cricket franchise "came on board as a sponsor to bail out the cash-strapped" Pakistan Hockey Federation. Pakistan Super League side Peshawar Zalmi Owner Javed Afridi signed a major sponsorship deal with the PHF, which will run until '20. The sponsorship deal will cover all int'l tours of senior and junior national teams as well as domestic hockey (PTI, 11/12).