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Volume 7 No. 149

Marketing and Sponsorship

Cronulla Sharks' CEO Barry Russell
Photo: cronulla sharks
Cronulla Sharks' CEO Barry Russell
Photo: cronulla sharks
Cronulla Sharks' CEO Barry Russell
Photo: cronulla sharks

National Rugby League side Cronulla Sharks CEO Barry Russell revealed he "had been contacted by a number of companies interested in filling the Sharks' sponsorship void," according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Cronulla had a second director "walk away" but was "given hope" that it can stem its financial bleeding. Russell confirmed that Paul O'Neile -- a member of the club's audit, risk & compliance committee -- resigned from his position on the board. His decision to stand down comes "only a matter of weeks after Craig Airey did the same." Russell insisted O'Neile's decision was "due to his work commitments outside the club." The club's financial position has been the "subject of intense debate" for months, as it struggles with significant losses, a lack of sponsors and an ongoing salary cap investigation that could result in Cronulla "receiving heavy fines and cap sanctions." Russell confirmed "a handful of companies had contacted the club" in the wake of revelations it was on the lookout for sponsors for the upcoming season, "chief among them a major backer" to be featured on the front of its jersey. NRL CEO Todd Greenberg acknowledged the NRL was "keeping a close eye on the Sharks" but reaffirmed the game would "no longer prop up clubs that hit financial difficulty" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/30).

Astralis secured another sponsor, as the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team reached an agreement with Kindred Group (previously Unibet Group) to make Unibet the team’s official betting partner, according to Jack Stewart of THE ESPORTS OBSERVER. As part of the deal, Unibet will launch "new initiatives and offerings over the coming months." The two-year deal is worth "several million dollars" but an exact figure was not given. Unibet is Astralis' fifth sponsor, joining gaming hardware manufacturer Turtle Beach, clothing brand Jack and Jones, energy drink NOCCO and Esports.com (TEO, 11/30).

100 THIEVES: TEO's Trent Murray reported esports organization 100 Thieves partnered with energy drink company Red Bull. The deal reunites 100 Thieves CEO Matthew Haag with the brand "he previously represented as a Call of Duty pro." Terms of the deal were not disclosed (TEO, 11/29).

SEA GAMES: STRAITS TIMES' David Lee reported Singaporean gaming hardware manufacturer Razer will be the official esports partner for next year's Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines, where esports "is set to make its debut in the biennial meet." Razer revealed that co-Founder & CEO Tan Min-Liang has "led the rally to elevate esports to a recognised medal event at SEA Games 2019" over the past year. Razer currently supports 18 champion teams with players from 25 countries. Team Razer gamers have won more than $10M in prize money in the past two years (STRAITS TIMES, 11/28).

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.

The Ryder Cup named BMW a worldwide partner for the next two matches between the U.S. and Europe at Whistling Straits, in Wisconsin, in '20 and Marco Simone, in Italy, in '22. The car brand extended its association with the competition having first been the official car partner for Ryder Cup Europe in '06 and then an official partner in '10, '14 and '18. BMW also renewed its status as an official partner of the European Tour for four years and will continue as title sponsor of the PGA Championship and Int'l Open until '22 (Ryder Cup). 

Basketball Australia announced Berocca as a major partner of the Australian Boomers. The two-year partnership was unveiled when Australia beat Iran 76-47 in the FIBA World Cup qualifier last week (BA).  

Girondins de Bordeaux’s shirt featured a new main sponsor for its match against Paris St. Germain on Sunday. Principle sponsor Sweetcom “decided to leave its place to Partedis,” a building products distributor. The company’s logo will continue to be featured on Bordeaux’s shirt for its next two matches against Olympique de Marseille and Guingamp (SPORTBUZZ BUSINESS, 11/30).