A new hotel opened last August and last night had its official opening ceremony. This official ribbon cutting featured special guest Giorgio Chiellini. What makes it unique is that it is the first Italian hotel, and quite possibly the first hotel anywhere to be in collaboration with a football club. Welcome to the J | Hotel.
Juventus has partnered with Lindbergh Hotels, one of the major exponents of Italian tourism, and Juventus. The hotel, which officially opened its doors on August 24, is situated in the heart of the area known as the J | Village, near the Allianz Stadium and J | Medical, and is grounded between the Juventus Training Center and WINS-World International School.
The J | Hotel is unique because an entire wing is dedicated to rooms reserved for the First Team players while also offering services to the public. The rest of the guest room come in a variety of categories. There are also meeting and business spaces on-site.
Guests are guaranteed a “champion’s rest” on beds that are the same as those assigned to the first team players. In most rooms, the minibars are included in the rate, and in all of them, there is a SKY connection to watch all Juve matches on TV.
With the trend around the world for stadiums to be part of larger developments for economic reasons, it is likely that the J | Hotel will not be the only football team to partner with a hotel brand.
Russo Law and Soccer Briefs offers a quick glance at what’s new on the commercial side of football.
Next season is still almost four months away, but we now know what next year’s official Major League Soccer game ball will look like.
Shortly after the Seattle Sounders FC lifted the MLS Cup Sunday, Major League Soccer and adidas revealed the official match ball for the league’s 25th season.
Say buenos días to the 2020 MLS NATIVO XXV.
The 2020 MLS NATIVO XXV ball celebrates the league’s 25th season. By incorporating blue and green accents, it pulls inspiration from MLS’ original logo and its first-ever match ball in 1996.
The ball, which will go on sale online and in stores on January 2, 2020, is the first of “a series of initiatives” planned to celebrate MLS’ 25th anniversary, according to the league office.
Adidas says the ball has its most sustainable design to date. It is made of 100% water-based materials and print colours.
In addition, the “Hi-White” material used is supposed to allow players to see the ball better on the pitch. The ball is constructed of the same high-performance structure and panels as recent World Cup models.
The new MLS NATIVO XXV is one of the many ways MLS’ will celebrate its milestone year. In the coming months, MLS will unveil a series of initiatives to celebrate 25 years and to kick off a new decade of soccer in North America.
It is also expected that next year’s kits for the clubs will also pay tribute the the 25th-year anniversary of the league’s founding. Now if only MLS would bring back 3rd and alternate kits . . .
Nike will be new kit supplier beginning with the 2020/21 season.
Liverpool join Chelsea and Tottenham as top tier EPL clubs with Nike kits
MIAMI, Fla. (October 28, 2019) —
Liverpool FC have won a legal battle with Boston (MA)-based New Balance in the London Commercial Court and are now free to sign a new deal with Nike.
Pending an appeal by New Balance, it brings to an end the ongoing dispute surrounding which apparel provider would outfit the Premier League side’s kit from the 2020/21 season, which has been unclear since the start of the year.
Liverpool had made clear their intentions to switch to Nike once their partnership with New Balance, which dates back to the 2015/16 season, expired and had held extensive talks with the brand. The club rejected New Balance’s offer of a matching clause proposed for the existing contract over the summer.
New Balance took the European Champions to court over their alleged refusal to honour a £45m-a-year deal (€50.9, $55.9 million), which expires in May 2020. They alleged that under the terms, the footwear firm is entitled to renew its sponsorship if it matches any competitor’s offer, and that Liverpool had breached the contract by not renewing the contract.
Opening the firm’s case last week, Daniel Oudkerk QC said the key issue was whether New Balance had matched “the material, measurable and matchable terms of a third-party offer.”
Liverpool countered that New Balance had not matched Nike’s offer, which includes a commitment to sell licensed products in at least “6,000 stores worldwide, 500 of which shall be Nike-owned”. Guy Morpuss QC, the lawyer representing the Premier League club, set out to show New Balance’s claim it could distribute the club’s kit to 40,000 stores was “a myth”, and that the company had “grossly overstated” the number of stores to which it could distribute. Moreover, Liverpool argued that Nike could deliver far greater total revenue than New Balance could, reflected by Nike reportedly agreeing to pay the Reds a 20 percent royalty on net sales of Liverpool products.
Nike reportedly agreed to pay the club UK£30 million (US$36 million) per year, compared to the UK£45 million (US$58 million) New Balance currently pays. However, it would also promote the team through other high-profile athletes and influencers, including tennis legend Serena Williams, basketball star LeBron James and the musician Drake. Nike would also distribute the new kit through an estimated 6,000 global stores, compared to New Balance’s 3,000.
Chris Davis, New Balance vice-president of global marketing and sports marketing, and Kenny McCallum, New Balance general manager of global football, were both cross-examined extensively during Friday’s proceedings.
Davis’ testimony Testifying in court basically admitted that the company had made “errors” on the number of retail outlets initially planned.
Liverpool’s legal team argued that this was evidence New Balance was unable to match the terms offered by Nike. New Balance would have to double their number of stores, especially in the Far East, where their actual outlets were much lower than planned. Other evidence presented by the club’s barristers was the fact that a large number of New Balance stores sold only the company’s footwear and not replica kits.
Giving his ruling in London, Mr. Justice Teare of the High Court ruled in Liverpool’s favour, finding that “the New Balance offer on marketing was less favourable to Liverpool FC than the Nike offer.” A full written statement from the judge will follow but he told the court: “For the reasons given in the judgment handed down, the claim from New Balance is dismissed.”
In his ruling, Mr Justice Teare said: “Liverpool FC is not obliged to enter into a new agreement with New Balance.”
The court also heard that Liverpool spent more than £555,000 on the case, with 20% to be paid by New Balance.
Liverpool will now move ahead to finalise a five-year deal they have agreed to in principle with Nike, who have apparently already spent nearly UK£6 million (US$7.7 million) on kit design. Liverpool and Nike have worked together for the past two months. [The Reds claim Nike’s offer to them, which they apparently had accepted in principle in August, amounted to a legally binding obligation to contract with Nike.] The two sides have already agreed on designs for the replica kits and training kits for the 2020-21 campaign, while Nike have reserved factory space to manufacture 2.9 million units over the course of next season and have already invested more than $5.8 million in fabric.
While the possibility of an appeal of the court’s dismissal is possible, the relationship between New Balance and Liverpool is irretrievably damaged, and even if New Balance won on appeal, forcing Liverpool to work with them for another five years is not going to happen. The only question would be damages owed by Liverpool for breach of contract. A New Balance spokeswoman said the firm was disappointed, adding: “We believe strongly that we matched the competing offer and would have delivered many more years of record-breaking kit sales.”
Los Angeles Football Club has added a new corporate sponsor to its lineup. The club revealed that retail giant Target will join the exclusive Golden Boot Club beginning in January 2020, serving as the Official Retailer of LAFC. The multi-year partnership includes the Target logo prominently displayed on the left sleeve of LAFC’s primary and secondary shirts.
“This is another historic day for our Club as we welcome Target to the Black & Gold family,” said LAFC President and Owner Tom Penn. “Target is an innovative leader that shares our passion for culture, community and inclusivity. We’re proud to showcase Target on our jerseys and throughout the LAFC community.”
“With a strong presence in the Los Angeles community, we’re thrilled to team up with the Los Angeles Football Club,” said William White, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Target. “We support soccer because we know how much our guests love this sport, and we’re excited to bring the bullseye to the jerseys of the Black & Gold.”
LAFC’s elite level of partnership is the Golden Boot Club, which provides exclusive access, visibility and experiences for its members. As the newest member of LAFC’s Golden Boot Club, Target joins Banc of California, Delta Air Lines/Aeromexico, Heineken, Kaiser Permanente, Toyota and YouTube TV.
The Target sleeve patch will also be present on shirts sold in retail.
Major League Soccer (MLS) announced approval of sponsored sleeve patch sales on team uniforms in October 2018. The new initiative is a multi-year pilot program, and available only to those clubs that have already secured a primary jersey sponsor.
The terms of the arrangement were not disclosed, but my research suggests said that MLS sleeve deals could be worth anywhere between US$500,000 and US$1 million per year. Given the success that LAFC has had, and their location in the nation’s No. 2 media market, it seems likely that the Target sleeve sponsorship will earn above the estimated range.
The size of the sponsored sleeve patch will be roughly the same size as the existing MLS logo on the right jersey sleeve, roughly 2.5 by 2.5 inches.
The deal comes at the close of LAFC’s second season, which saw them winners of the MLS Supporters Shield, and an upcoming game for the MLS’s Western Conference championship.
Target is already heavily invested in MLS. The Minneapolis-based company is the main shirt partner for Minnestoa United FC. It is also a league partner.
In addition to the sleeve patch, Target will place its logo on digital signs around the team’s stadium. The company also has the right to brand a field-level suite where the club entertains VIP guests and celebrities.
Being the first to announce a sleeve partner was a goal for the team, according to Penn, who compared it to the team’s 2018 YouTubeTV deal, when it became the first major U.S. franchise to award its local TV rights to a streaming provider.
“We love being first,” said Penn, who is also an LAFC owner.
LAFC studied data gathered by the club in order to help sell potential partners on the new ad space, including metrics such as the exposure its jersey had received in 2019 from live broadcasts, highlight videos, social-media posts and news coverage. For example, over the first six months of this season, the MLS patch on the other sleeve received 550 million impressions.
“Every time Carlos Vela does something dramatic and the goal footage goes global, it will have a Target mark right on the sleeve,” LAFC President Tom Penn said. “It’s easy to quantify the number of impressions and the extent of the exposure that the partner gets.”
Selling sleeve patches aligns MLS with prominent soccer leagues across the world, such as La Liga Santander and the English Premier League, where teams have both a main shirt sponsor and a second logo on the sleeve.
Los Angeles Football Club became the second MLS club in Los Angeles, joining the Los Angeles Galaxy, after owners paid $110 million in 2014 to establish the team. It started play in 2018 and immediately became one of MLS’s most valuable franchises, according to Forbes.
LAFC is controlled by a trio of owners — Apollo Global Management senior partner Larry Berg, Ares Management co-founder Bennett Rosenthal and Riot Games Inc. co-founder Brandon Beck. Other investors include Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai, who is also co-founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., actor Will Ferrell, soccer star Mia Hamm, and former Los Angeles Lakers player Earving “Magic” Johnson.
Dutch brewing giant continues to invest in soccer and now has sponsorship agreements with 11 MLS clubs in addition to league-wide deal.
Club Internacional de Fútbol is positioned to become the first global team of Major League Soccer.
Miami, Fla. (Monday, August 5, 2019) – Kenneth Russo
The teaser ad went live on last Friday on Inter Miami CF’s Instagram and Facebook accounts, complete with announcers speaking in a distinct Miami accent, asking the question, “What will Inter Miami CF do with their first “draught” pick?”
The promo was filmed last month right here in Miami, and, the theme was a nod to fans of more traditional “American” sports like American football and basketball, where there is always a buzz around what player gets selected with the first draft pick.
“The answer is that this pick might just be the best in the world and it’s used to doing well under the sun, which is so key here in Miami.” The ‘sportscasters’ also predicted that this pick was going to be European.
And correct they were.
Today, the club announced that Heineken will be the official beer of Inter Miami CF. The multi-year deal establishes Heineken as the first Founding Partner and Official Beer of Inter Miami CF, granting them signage, intellectual property rights, and retail activations. The brand will work closely with Inter Miami to continuosly elevate the fan experience in South Florida. The deal comes after Inter Miami appointed London-based KIN Partners in February as their exclusive sponsorship sales representation agency. As is the custom, no financial details about the partnership were made public. However deals like this customarily represent a multi-million dollar investment by the sponsor in the club over the term of the agreement.
At the announcement yesterday, at El Tucán in downtown Miami, the official commercial was shown for the first time. The is available on Inter Miami’s official website (www.intermiamicf.com) and on social media channels. It was filmed in July, 2019 at Toe Jam Backlot in Wynwood (Miami) and feature the club’s three official supporters groups, Southern Legion, Vice City 1896 and The Siege Supporters Club.
Present at yesterday’s announcement was Heineken’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jonnie Cahill, who said that Heieneken “could not wait” for Miami to join Major League Soccer. “After much anticipation and excitement around the return of MLS to South Florida, we are thrilled to play a role as Inter Miami CF’s first official partner, and look forward to celebrating many future firsts together,” Cahill said. “We are known worldwide as a devoted soccer brand, and through this partnership, we can’t wait to provide soccer fans across South Florida with the premium experience—and beer—they have come to expect from Heineken for years to come.” He went on to say that Heineken will be with the club every step of the way to make Inter Miami CF the most iconic club in MLS.
Inter Miami CF have established the Founding Partner level of partnership for partners who seek the highest levels of visibility, access to the team and experiences that can be customized to forge an unprecedented connection with Inter Miami CF fans throughout South Florida and beyond.
“Our goal at Inter Miami CF is to provide the best possible experience to our fans. With Heineken we have an excellent partner who not only shares our vision and passion for the sport but also understands the importance of being a community-first organization who engages directly with our core audience.”
“We have an excellent partner who not only shares our vision and passion for the sport but also understands the importance of being a community-first organisation who engages directly with our core audience.”
Jurgen Mainka, Chief Business Officer, Inter Miami CF
“Since 2014, Heineken has been an invaluable supporter of Major League Soccer and our clubs, so it is with great pride that we congratulate Heineken and Inter Miami CF on the announcement of their partnership,” said MLS Deputy Commissioner and President of MLS Business Ventures, Gary Stevenson. “Heineken has a deep history of forging authentic relationships with fans across the league through celebratory moments and numerous club partnerships. We look forward to working with both brands to engage fans in Southern Florida in innovative ways for many years to come.”
The agreement mark’s Heineken’s 14th club sponsorship in MLS, in addition to it’s league-wide partnership which is in the second year of a five-year extension signed in March 2018.
Budweiser, known as “The King of Beers,” will roll out its new campaign “Be A King” as part of these new sponsorship agreements.
Miami, Fla. (Tuesday, July 30, 2019) –
Budweiser, an international brand of Anheuser-Busch InBev, (“AB InBev”) announced last week a multiyear agreement to be a sponsor of both La Liga and the Premier League. This new sponsorship agreement will make Budweiser the official beer of the two top leagues in the world and will see activations across five continents and in more than 20 countries, including the United Kingdom, China, South Africa, India, Chile and Nigeria. Fans will be brought closer to the players they follow through a series of unique programs around the world. It The two league sponsorship will be the company’s biggest-ever integrated marketing campaign.
Separately, on July 7, 2019, Budweiser also announced a sponsorship deal with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
The new sponsorship assets include 30-second video ads for both the Premier League and La Liga that feature on-pitch action intercut with Budweiser product shots to emphasise the slogan: “Beer of Kings.”
It had been rumoured since last November that Budweiser was looking to strike a deal with the Premier League. Now, they will replace Carling as the league’s official beer partner. Meanwhile, in Spain, Budweiser’s new sponsorship cannot be activated just yet, as La Liga is contractually bound for one more season with it current deal with domestic beer brand Mahou Cinco Estrellas.
Mahou Cinco Estrellas has one more season as official beer of La Liga.
The rights in the two deals are broadly similar. Under the multi-year deals, Budweiser will get an extensive suite of rights to activate globally, including LED perimeter boards, collective image rights, on-package branding rights, and exclusive content rights.
For its Premier League and La Liga sponsorships, Budweiser has planned year-long marketing programs that will include viewing parties for fans, limited-edition packaging and content focused on seminal players both on and off the pitch.
Eelco van der Noll, head of partnerships at AB InBev, described the deals as the “missing piece in the puzzle” for Budweiser’s sponsorship program in between World Cups. Now, Budweiser will be in the spotlight every year during the Premier League and La Liga seasons.
One of the primary components of the deal is on-package branding rights, which will see the La Liga and Premier League players, logos and trophies pictured on Budweiser’s primary and secondary packaging.
Richard Masters, interim chief executive of the Premier League said, “We are delighted to announce Budweiser as a new Premier League partner. Budweiser has a track record of innovative football sponsorships, including partnering with the FIFA World Cup over many years. We look forward to working together to bring our new partnership to life and capturing the imagination of our fans all over the world.”
La Liga President Javier Tebas also commented, “We’re committed to growing the passion for football around the world. This historic partnership with Budweiser will only add to the growing excitement and anticipation for this year’s season and we’re thrilled to have them as partners. The global visibility of Spanish clubs will be strengthened thanks to this agreement.”
Pedro Earp, chief marketing officer at AB InBev said: “We are excited to kick-off these long-term partnerships with the Premier League and La Liga, two world-class football competitions.” He added: “These partnerships will allow us to further connect with key consumers and football fans across the globe. We are passionate about football, and so are our consumers, so we couldn’t be prouder to celebrate the sport, the players, and most importantly, the fans.”
Budweiser is already a long-time partner of the Fifa World Cup, but is strengthening its ties with football via this new association with two of the world’s most famous leagues. Earlier this year, it became the official beer of the England senior women’s team and of Wembley Stadium.
Particulars: Collective Images
In each collective image, Budweiser has to use at least four Premier League players, each representing different clubs, and seven La Liga players, also representing different clubs.
The rights in the two deals are broadly similar, but there are some differences when it comes to content rights and LED rights.
At La Liga, Budweiser will get 3-4 minutes’ LED time per game at every fixture except Barcelona and Real Madrid home games. [This is likely due to sponsorship agreements those clubs have in place with brewers Estrella Damm and Mahou Cinco Estrellas, respectively.]
Under the Premier League deal, Budweiser will also get a smaller share of Premier League LED rights, which it has purchased through an agreement with a third-party provider.
Next Page: Why the new deal with Budweiser is significant to La Liga
Resumen en español
Budweiser, marca internacional de Anheuser-Busch InBev, anunció la semana pasada un acuerdo de varios años con dos de las principales ligas de fútbol internacionales, la Premier League y La Liga. Como antiguo socio de la Copa Mundial de la FIFA™, y seguidor de las ligas de fútbol y de diversas selecciones nacionales de todo el mundo, Budweiser se enorgullece de ampliar su apoyo al deporte rey conectando con más aficionados al fútbol cada año. Estos nuevos acuerdos se activarán en los cinco continentes y en más de 20 países, incluyendo a Reino Unido, China, Sudáfrica, India, Chile y Nigeria, acercando a los seguidores a sus héroes del fútbol gracias a una serie de programas únicos en todo el mundo.
Siendo la marca de cerveza más valiosa del mundo, the King of Beers lanzará su campaña global Be a King junto con estos acuerdos. Esta campaña inspirará a aficionados de todo el mundo acercándolos a los reyes del deporte. Las acciones incluirán envases de edición limitada mostrando los emblemáticos trofeos de liga, ‘viewing parties’ exclusivas, activaciones en broadcasters y contenido diseñado para celebrar la grandeza de los jugadores en el terreno de juego y su impacto cultural fuera del mismo.
“Nos entusiasma poner en marcha estos acuerdos a largo plazo con la Premier League y La Liga, dos competiciones de fútbol de categoría mundial. Estas asociaciones nos permitirán conectar aún más con los consumidores clave y seguidores del fútbol de todo el mundo”, declaró Pedro Earp, director de marketing de AB InBev. “Nos apasiona el fútbol, igual que a nuestros consumidores, así que no podemos estar más orgullosos de homenajear al deporte, a los jugadores y, lo que es más importante, a sus aficionados”.
Richard Masters, director general en funciones de la Premier League afirmó: “Estamos encantados de anunciar que Budweiser será un nuevo socio de nuestra competición. Budweiser tiene un gran historial de innovadores patrocinios de fútbol, incluyendo el de la Copa Mundial de la FIFA™ durante muchos años. Estamos deseando trabajar juntos para desarrollar esta asociación y atraer el entusiasmo de nuestros aficionados de todo el mundo”.
El presidente de La Liga, Javier Tebas, añadió:
“Estamos comprometidos con aumentar la pasión por el fútbol en todo el mundo. Esta asociación histórica con Budweiser será una gran aportación a la creciente emoción y expectativas para esta temporada y estamos muy felices de tenerlos como socios. La visibilidad global de los clubes españoles se fortalecerá gracias a este acuerdo”.
Club will not seek naming rights partner for the revitalization of the Bernabéu Stadium; Has “great opportunities” in business without changing the name of the stadium.
Miami, Fla. (Thursday, July 25, 2019) – Kenneth Russo
What’s in a name? In the case of a famous one, a reason not to alter it.
One of the world’s most iconic football stadiums will not be adopting a corporate name. This news came from Real Madrid Club de Fútbol’s Global Head of Partnerships, David Hopkinson.
As reported in Spanish publication ReasonWby.Es, Hopkinson had been interviewed and asked about this ahead of the World Football Summit 2019. It was believed that Real Madrid would seek a stadium naming rights partner. He commented, “Anything is possible, but to put a corporate name on the stadium probably would be incorrect. There are places around the world that are iconic and must be respected.” (“Hay lugares en todo el mundo que son icónicos y deben respetarse”) He also added that Real Madrid enjoys an extraordinary assortment of income-generating opportunities that do not involve adopting a corporate name for the home of Los Blancos.
While the stadium’s name is not changing, many aspects of the stadium will be. The club is planning a complete transformation of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, which is expected to take until 2023 to finish.
Madrid’s ambitious plans for a “digital stadium of the future,” were made possible after securing loans totalling €575 million (£497 million/$641 million USD) in April, 2018 from two US-based financial institutions: Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan. They will start repaying the loans in 2023 at a fixed 2.5 percent interest rate through 2049. The club will service an annual debt of €29.5 million per year on the project throughout the period.
Hopkinson, a Canadian, (and graduate of McGill University) was hired in summer of 2018, after having worked with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), where he was the Chief Commercial Officer. MLSE is the parent company of Toronto Football Club (MLS), the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and Toronto Raptors (NBA). Explaining the overall business strategy of Real Madrid, Hopkinson said that Real Madrid believes the more it is able to internationalise its business, reputation, and fan base, in the process making the club a global enterprise, the more opportunities the club will have with sponsors around the world.
“Cuanto más podamos internacionalizar nuestro negocio, nuestra reputación, nuestra base de fans, para globalizar este negocio, más oportunidades tendremos con patrocinios en todo el mundo”, detalló.
The renovation will include a retractable roof, new services and experiences designed for fans, taking advantage of the latest in digital stadium technology.
While a football club can expect millions of dollars to have a corporate name on its stadium, in the case of Real Madrid CF, Hopkinson believes the benefit of not changing outweighs the increased revenue. Reaching that conclusion was probably also made easier by the fact that Real Madrid was looking for a naming rights sponsor but actually had difficulty attracting one. Potential sponsors were cautious to invest given the status of the stadium as one of the most famous in the world. It was thought, and altogether realistic to believe, that people would still refer to the stadium as the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu no matter what corporation sponsored the venue.