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Volume 7 No. 149

Marketing and Sponsorship

AIG is "set to become the title sponsor of the Women's British Open" in '19, according to TODAY'S GOLFER. During the five-year commitment, the championship's name will be changed to the AIG Women's British Open, having been previously been titled the Ricoh Women's British Open from '07-18. Defending Women's British Open champion Georgia Hall "helped announce the new sponsorship, which is set to begin when the contest returns to Woburn" in '19. This is AIG's first title sponsorship in professional golf (TODAY'S GOLFER, 11/29). GOLFWEEK's Alistair Tait reported European women's golf "finally received some good news" by securing AIG as the Women's British Open title sponsor. AIG will "partner the R&A and IMG in promoting and staging the tournament." The insurance company was previously a major sponsor for ManU. There was "no announcement" on an increase to last year's $3.25M prize fund, which comes as "no surprise." The R&A "tends to announce total prize money for the Open Championship closer to the tournament," and there is "no reason to expect the governing body to act differently for the Women's British." The AIG news comes as the Ladies European Tour "struggles to provide playing opportunities for its members." The LET has "seen a number of events fall off its schedule in recent years" (GOLFWEEK, 11/29).

Prada's designs on the America's Cup took "another step forward on Thursday," according to Alexander Smith of REUTERS. With the launch of the Prada Cup, the fashion company will "further stamp its mark on the history of the cup" first won by the schooner "America" off England in 1851. Prada's new trophy will be "awarded to the crew which wins the right to challenge cup defender New Zealand in a series of races in Auckland" in early '21, an event "previously sponsored by rival French fashion house Louis Vuitton." The main event, also now "backed by Prada," will be between radical foiling monohulls which will "fly" above the waters of Auckland's Hauraki Gulf and Waitemata Harbour. Prada has "been busy," commissioning designer Marc Newson to give the America's Cup competition a more modern "visual identity" (REUTERS, 11/28).

In addition to Sugarpova, Sharapova has business investments in UFC, Supergoop and an app called Charly
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Maria Sharapova used her 15-month suspension in '16 after testing positive for meldonium to focus on her candy line, Sugarpova, becoming "more hands-on" in the business, according to Alyssa Giacobbe of ENTREPRENEUR. Sharapova "showed up for meetings at Bed Bath & Beyond and Kroger, and visited food shows and fairs." She also "enrolled in a 10-day strategic management program at Harvard Business School" and interned at the NBA, working with Commissioner Adam Silver. Candy "may not seem like the most natural fit for a professional athlete's entrepreneurial foray," but Sharapova learned that the candy business was "not just big but huge, with plenty of room for growth." The industry is "predicted to hit" nearly $19.6B in revenue by '25. Besides candy, Sharapova's business portfolio includes investments in UFC, sunscreen maker Supergoop and an app called Charly that lets users message celebrities. Additionally, there is an "upcoming partnership codesigning hotel gyms with architect Dan Meis." Meanwhile, Sharapova and longtime agent IMG Tennis VP Max Eisenbud "began talking about ways to build up her recognition as a businesswoman while also promoting the sort of female-to-female mentorship" she felt she "missed out on in her own careers." On Sharapova's behalf, N.Y.-based global business development advisory and investment firm Traub "researched and interviewed dozens of women's organizations as potential partners before approaching the National Association of Women Business Owners." NAWBO and Traub worked together to "create the Sharapova Women's Entrepreneur Program, which provides customized mentoring and education to winning participants" (ENTREPRENEUR, 12/ '18 issue).

Polish oil company PKN Orlen will sponsor Williams Formula 1 following the team's signing of Robert Kubica as a driver for next season. The team, which finished 10th and last overall this year, announced the deal on Thursday, with PKN's branding to be "prominent on the car as well as helmets, team overalls and apparel." No financial details were given, although reports suggested the deal was worth "at least" $10M to Williams (REUTERS, 11/29).

The Int'l Hockey Federation (FIH) Men's World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 announced Coca-Cola India as an "Official Supplier" of beverages for the tournament. To engage with fans, #ShareACoke screens will be displayed throughout the tournament. There will also be Coke "canters" across the streets of Bhubaneshwar, where fans can "try their hands on playing virtual Hockey and stand a chance to win goodies" (INSIDE SPORT, 11/28).

Obsidian Sports Management and Chinese Formula E team DS Techeetah announced a three-year agreement with global technology company Efacec as an official partner of the team (Obsidian).

Wilson Security ended its title sponsorship of Garry Rogers Motorsport. The company has been a supporter of Supercars for more than a decade, but opted to step back from the sport following the recent exit of Group Managing Dir John McMellan (Supercars).

FILA extended its partnership with World No. 8 tennis player Karolina Pliskova (FILA).