AB Inbev- sees benefit in Budweiser sponsorship of FA Cup Competition

AB InBev has seen a 1.8% rise in first quarter sales thanks largely to the Budweiser brand and it’s sponsorship of the FA Cup and will look to increase marketing output of the brand.

The brewer hailed the performance of its Budweiser Draught variant in the on-trade and marketing activity around its FA Cup sponsorship for driving the brand’s performance in the three months to 31 March.

AB InBev has made raising the global profile of its flagship brand a key priority for its marketing teams. One of the ways it is hoping to drive growth is by associating the brand with shared experiences through its sponsorship of FIFA’s World Cup and marketing around the FA Cup in England.

Next month, Budweiser’s Man of the Man Match mobile campaign will let fans vote live for the official Man of the Match, for the first time ever in the competition’s history.

It is part of a wider strategy from the brewer to use social media – which makes up nearly a fifth of its advertising spend – to encourage drinkers to spend progressively more on its brands over time.

Budweiser’s global sales volumes grew 7.3% in the first quarter, while sales of its three core brands, Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s rose by 4.7% in the same period.

The brewer said that it would continue to the drive growth of its flagship Budwesier brand alongside its Stella Artois and Becks beers by investing in more marketing.

Globally, the brewer reported first quarter profits of $1.7bn (£1.04bn), almost double the profit made in the same quarter in 2011. Revenue increased to $9.33bn (£5.7bn) from $9bn (£5.2bn).

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Chelsea & Sauber Join Forces with innovative partnership

Chelsea Football Club has announced a new partnership with the Sauber Formula One team, which will see the Champions League finalists’ logos feature on Sauber’s cars from the next Grand Prix, while Sauber logos will be positioned on perimeter boards at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium.

Chelsea will attempt to win their first Champions League, in the final on 19th May, Sauber go into their next race in Spain a week before on 13th May.

The Sauber team currently lies sixth in the world championship after four races with 31 points, with Sergio Perez’s second place at March’s Malaysian Grand Prix their highlight of the season so far.

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said: ‘This is an innovative partnership that will see a football club link up with an F1 team like never before, bringing together two of the world’s biggest sports and uniting our fans.’

‘We felt that this Swiss team, the fourth oldest of the existing teams, reflects our own ideals perfectly.’

‘In a year when Chelsea celebrates 20 seasons as a Premier League team, Sauber does so as a Formula One team. We share many philosophies when it comes to how the respective organisations are run, from the development of young talent to constantly striving for success.’

‘Their philosophy towards grassroots development has produced some of the best drivers Formula One, which mirrors our dedication to develop promising young football talent through our academy.’

Speculation about a potential tie-up with Chelsea has increased over recent weeks, with the team placing apparently cryptic messages such as ‘Out of the Blue’ on its cars at the last two Grand Prix.

Monisha Kaltenborn, chief executive of the team, added: ‘A partnership like this between Formula One and Football has never existed before in this form, yet there are numerous commonalities and possible synergies. In either case we are talking about team sport at the highest – and international – level.’

‘The Sauber F1 Team and Chelsea FC are dealing with many of the same sporting and commercial topics and we want to strengthen each other in these areas.’

‘We are looking forward to exploiting these opportunities, and we congratulate Chelsea on making it to the final of the Champions League.’

At the moment it remains unclear whether money is involved in the deal, or in which direction.

Canterbury wins multi-year kit deal with Leicester Tigers

Canterbury has announced its second major partnership in as many months after agreeing a multi-year kit deal with English rugby’s most successful club rugby union side, Leicester Tigers.

The sports apparel brand secured a four-year deal with the Rugby Union in March to act as the official kit supplier to England Rugby

Under terms of the new three-year agreement, the dedicated rugby brand will provide a similar service to the Aviva Premiership outfit – supplying the team with a range or playing kit, training apparel and off-field clothing.

An official press release also stated: ‘Canterbury will work closely with the Tigers to champion the club’s ethos, incorporating its innovative design elements into the new kit to maximise performance and aid recovery.’
Canterbury chief executive Chris Stephenson said: ‘Associations with leading rugby teams around the world have played a key role in promoting Canterbury’s heritage within the game over the years.’

‘By joining up with the Leicester Tigers, a club that has enjoyed a rich and successful history, Canterbury is demonstrating a continued desire to work with the very best teams in the world. We are delighted with this partnership and we hope the fans look forward to our involvement with this great club.’

Leicester Tigers chief executive Simon Cohen added: ‘We are excited to partner with Canterbury, given their unrivalled experience of providing teams with the strongest, most technologically advanced kits available. Their recognised prowess and heritage in rugby is perfectly aligned with the Tigers’ culture and determination to remain at the top of European club rugby. We would also like to thank Cotton Traders for their commitment to the club over the years.’

ICC announce increase in Twenty20 World Cup Teams for 2014

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has announced that The International Cricket Council (ICC) is implementing plans to increase the 2014 Twenty20 World Cup from 12 to 16 teams.

Originally, the proposal was put forward at last month’s Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) meeting, which has now been approved by the ICC’s executive board at a meeting on Monday. The move will be implemented for Bangladesh’s staging of the competition and will see the ICC’s 10 full members joined by six qualifying nations. The expansion is also being seen as a method to grant more opportunities of top-level competition to cricket’s non-Test playing nations.

“What excites me is the decision to extend the World Twenty20 event, which takes place in 2014 in Bangladesh,” said ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat, according to Reuters. “From then onwards the board has decided to expand the event to 16 teams. I’m sure that is very comforting to all associates and affiliates… it provides them with a greater chance of competing on the global stage.”

The ICC has also approved the overhaul of its top-level administration, which will lead to the creation of a powerful chairman’s position with the president’s role being transformed into a purely ceremonial one. The board-appointed chairman will lead the ICC in future with the vice-president position being scrapped. Lorgat himself is set to leave his position following the ICC’s annual conference in June, with the Council adding that four candidates have been shortlisted to replace him.

Premier League Clubs still lead the way in Kit Supplier Deals

The combined value of kit supplier contracts for England’s 20 top-flight sides this season hit 109.7 million EUR even though English Premier League clubs’ shirts are still the cheapest in all of Europe’s top five domestic football competitions, according to the 2012 European Football Kit Supplier Report by SPORT+MARKT and PR Marketing.

England’s top flight leads the way in Europe when it comes to attracting investment from sports equipment manufacturers, with clubs averaging 5.5 million EUR income from kit supply deals in season 2011/12. The average value of such deals across Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues is a substantially lower 3.3 million EUR.

Premier League clubs will sell approximately 4 million jerseys this year, almost double that of the German Bundesliga, the league with the highest average match attendance in world football. However the reasons for the appeal of Premier League clubs’ kit rights are not only quantitative.

“The global reach of the English Premier League makes it a very attractive prospect for the world’s top sports merchandise manufacturers and, in turn, kit contracts are becoming an ever-more relevant source of income for the clubs,” Andrew Walsh, Head of International Affairs at SPORT+MARKT, said. “It’s not only about how many shirts you can sell, but about generating brand interest and loyalty and taking advantage of media exposure. Refinancing is also a major aspect – beyond simply supplying equipment, brands are looking to expand licensing agreements with the top clubs across the merchandising spectrum.”

The trend of growth that has allowed the kit supply contract market to grow by 48% in Europe’s top leagues since 2005 looks set to continue.

Walsh added: “What we’re also seeing now is that more up-and-coming manufacturers are entering the market and laying down the gauntlet to the traditional giants adidas and Nike. There now 28 different equipment brands active in the ‘big five’ leagues. You only have to look at the scale of Liverpool’s new deal with Warrior, which kicks in next season, to gain a strong impression of where the market is going.”

adidas remain the most active kit sponsor in the Premier League supplying five clubs this season, followed by Nike and UMBRO (both 3). Overall, adidas and Nike account for 44% of the total 330 million EUR spent by equipment manufacturers to secure rights for clubs from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 this season alone.

The study by SPORT+MARKT and PR Marketing also shows that kitting out in a Premier League club’s jersey is far less expensive, on average, than that of their Serie A or La Liga counterparts. The average shirt price from a top-level English club this season is 49.80 EUR, compared with 71.40 EUR in Serie A, 71.20 EUR in France’s Ligue 1 and 70.33 EUR in the Bundesliga.

The new calculations only take into account fees for the actual engagements. They do not include assessment of the provision of equipment such as kits, training equipment and footballs.

RFU drive forward with new partnership with BMW UK Group

The Rugby Football Union has announced a new four-year partnership with BMW Group UK as the Official Vehicle Partner from September 2012.

BMW Group UK will invest in various levels of the elite game through an integrated partnership to become the Official Vehicle Partner of England Rugby, title sponsors of England’s elite age grade development programme and front of shirt sponsors of the England Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20 squads.

The partnership will see the car manufacturer make a significant investment in the development of the next generation of English players.

Outside of its commitment to development and support of the England teams, BMW Group UK will also engage rugby supporters and BMW and MINI customers through the RFU’s digital channels and at Twickenham Stadium on international match days.

Sophie Goldschmidt, RFU chief commercial officer, said: ‘We are delighted to be entering into a new partnership with BMW Group UK, a company renowned both for the excellence of its vehicles and for supporting the development of athletes. As one of the leading global automotive brands who pride themselves on performance, we are really looking forward to working with them at various levels from September.’

Tim Abbott, managing director of BMW Group UK, added: ‘This new partnership is an excellent result for the RFU, BMW, our dealers, customers and, crucially, anyone who plays or follows rugby. The game is a perfect brand fit for us and this news comes as a natural extension of the work we have already done to support some of the UK’s leading sports stars.’

 

Bahrain Grand Prix in danger of being cancelled again!

Formula One’s teams have called on the sport’s stakeholders to cancel, or at least postpone, the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix amid continuing concerns over security in the country, according to a report.

The FIA and Ecclestone have continually maintained that the sport is committed to returning to Bahrain this year, despite continued violence in the Gulf Kingdom a year on from its suppressed uprising. The 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled after months of controversy following civil unrest in February 2011 – a move that cost organisers a reported £300 million. The race was confirmed as one of 20 events on the 2012 F1 calendar by the FIA in December, but questions have been continually raised over whether it is appropriate to return to the country.

The decision over the Bahrain GP’s status has been complicated by the logistical challenges presented by its back-to-back calendar slot with this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix. Some teams have reportedly been issued with two return tickets to Shanghai, one home via Bahrain and the other directly home. “We’re all hoping the FIA calls it off,” the team principal said. “From a purely legal point of view, in terms of insurance and government advice, we are clear to go. But what we find worrying is that there are issues happening every day.”

The principal added: “We have a lot of people. Our first and foremost priority has to be our employees, and their families. That’s what concerns us most, even though we’ve not said anything about it. It seems to me that while there has been some political progress in Bahrain they’re not quite ready. The best thing would be for the race to be postponed until later in the year, or even cancelled.”