Leveraging the Schooling Effect: Opportunities and Challenges in Asian Sponsorship Deals
Aug23

Leveraging the Schooling Effect: Opportunities and Challenges in Asian Sponsorship Deals

CELEBRITY endorsements are a multi-million dollar business and especially prominent in the world of sports. Companies such as Nike, Under Armour, Puma and Omega spend millions of dollars securing prized endorsements from famous athletes such as Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and Serena Williams. Here in Singapore, we are already witnessing the “Schooling Effect“, with various brands seeking to leverage the star power of Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medallist. While celebrity endorsements can be a great way to build awareness of and position the brands, there are some important legal and commercial considerations for brands to bear in mind. Here are our eight key takeaways for brands. Have a contract in place This is to avoid false celebrity endorsement, where it appears that there is an endorsement by a celebrity for a brand when there is in fact none. The celebrities have a right to take legal action against a brand if the brand comes across as misrepresenting its association with the individual. They may be allowed to do so to protect them against damage arising from a false claim or suggestion of endorsement of a third party’s goods or business. In some cases, celebrities have registered intellectual property rights such as trademarks and these could also be infringed where there is no contract in place. In short, tread carefully when leveraging star power. Be clear as to what the celebrity must do For example, how many shoots must the celebrity show up for? Are they doing sponsored tweets? If so, how many and when? Do they have to seek approval before posting comments on social media? Clearly defining the celebrity’s responsibility goes a long way in avoiding future disagreements. Protect yourself from brand damage By connecting your brand with a celebrity, you obviously hope to generate substantial goodwill. By the same token, however, if there is an incident involving the celebrity with adverse media coverage, then that could actually damage your brand or adversely affect the reputation of your business. This is usually addressed through contractual protections, including commitments from the celebrity and termination rights. Define and scope out exclusivity This will ensure that the value of the investment on the celebrity endorsement will not be eroded because of an association between the celebrity and a competitive product. As a rule of thumb, the endorsement deals should set out the period and scope of exclusivity. You might want to prohibit the celebrity from undertaking incompatible or potentially offensive, inappropriate or controversial marketing programmes. Consider whether the celebrity should seek approval before entering into any other endorsement. It is also important not to agree to contracts that conflict with...

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The Premier League, Sponsored by…Asia?
Feb15

The Premier League, Sponsored by…Asia?

Asia’s interest in the Premier League is at an all-time high. A population of young, increasingly affluent and increasingly connected Asian fans are following the Premier League in their hundreds of millions. At last count, the Premier League had 820 million fans in Asia, spanning the length and breadth of the continent. Put simply, the Premier League has more supporters in Asia than anywhere else. Asian interest in the Premier League is not new. What is new, however, is the fact that fans in Asia have more money to spend, and more smartphones, tablets and PCs to watch football on, than ever before. The commercial opportunities created by this fanbase have not been lost on Premier League clubs or indeed on Asian brands and broadcasters. Cash-rich brands from Asia are pouring millions of sponsorship dollars into Premier League clubs. Premier League clubs are responding to the opportunity by bolstering their commercial teams to entice brands with increasingly innovative partnership opportunities. Asian broadcasters are in total spending more on broadcast rights than those in any other continent. This report looks at what is driving these developments, highlights some of the deals that have already been done and considers the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead on both sides of the negotiating table. Shirt sponsorships Let’s start with the shirt sponsors. It is fair to say that Asian brands are rapidly buying up the “shirt real estate” of Premier League clubs. Almost a third of Premier League clubs now have an Asian brand as their main shirt sponsor. The 2013-2014 season sees players from six of the 20 Premier League clubs stepping onto the pitch with an Asian brand emblazoned on their chest. The proportion is even higher (eight out of 23) if one includes Wigan and QPR, who were relegated at the end of the 2012-2013 but who continue to have an Asian brand shirt sponsor. Contrast this with the Premier League ten years ago, in the 2003-2004 season, when just one Asian brand was involved as a shirt sponsor, in the form of Chinese telecoms company, Kejian, which sponsored Everton. Let’s look at the deals that have now been done: Club Shirt Sponsor Country Industry Aston Villa Dafabet Cagayan, Philippines Betting and gaming Cardiff City Malaysia Malaysia Tourism Chelsea Samsung Korea Electronics Everton Chang Beer Thailand Alcoholic beverages Swansea City GWFX Hong Kong Financial services Tottenham Hotspur AIA (cup, full shirt sponsor from next season) Hong Kong Insurance Queens Park Rangers* Air Asia Malaysia Airline Wigan Athletic* 12BET Cagayan, Philippines Betting and gaming *Relegated 2012-2013 A growing menu of partnership opportunities on offer The days when shirt, perimeter fence...

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Why everyone is talking about the Singapore Sports Hub
Nov22

Why everyone is talking about the Singapore Sports Hub

We were recently lucky enough to be invited for a tour of the new Singapore Sports Hub. The venue is still under construction (it won’t open until around April 2014) and there is plenty more work to do but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that it is going to completely transform sports in Singapore. What’s more, it looks set to become a hub not just for national sports but for sports in the ASEAN region as a whole. Here are our top facts: 1. It’s the largest ever public-private partnership in Singapore. The PPP parties are the Singapore Sports Hub, Infrared Capital Partners (finance and investment), Dragages (engineering and construction), DTZ (property services) and Global Spectrum Asia (marketing and venue management). The other companies involved at subcontractor level are World Sports Group (sports marketing, sponsorship and corporate hospitality), New Era (ticketing ), T-Systems (IT services), SMRT and Fairprice (retail mall) and Sports Catering Services (food and beverage). 2. The stadium itself has some unique architecture and design features. It is the largest bowl stadium design in the world and seats 55,000 people. It has retractable seating so that it can be set up for football, athletics or cricket (all of which require different seat configurations). It has a very efficient cooling system and it is carbon neutral because it has photovoltaic cells in the roof. Speaking of the roof, it is covered in LED lights which will enable them to post still and moving images (e.g. the Singapore flag) which will be visible from the sky. 3. Surrounding the main stadium are a number of smaller sports facilities including an aquatic centre with Olympic-sized pool and underwater viewing panel, and several halls able to be used for indoor games such as basketball, tennis, badminton, etc. Other facilities will include a sports library, to facilitate research and development in sports, and a sports museum. There is also office space for sports associations. 4. Big events are coming to the Sports Hub. Currently on the horizon are: the WTA Championships Finals (2014 to 2018), SEA Games 2015 and World Junior Swimming Championships 2015. Expect to see a lot more international events as it gains recognition on the world stage. 5. Sponsorship is a big part of the revenue stream. Venue sponsorship for the main stadium is of course not available  but OCBC recently secured a $50 million 15 year naming rights deal for many of the other facilities. There will be other sponsorship roles available, though, particularly in the Official Supplier Category. 6. They anticipate that 4 million people will pass through the venue each year. There’s a big focus on community events (such as a...

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Welcome to Connected Asia
Nov19

Welcome to Connected Asia

Thanks for visiting Connected Asia. Connected Asia is a blog about tech,  media, gaming and sport in Asia. Right now it’s really a work in progress but there’s more to come soon. Bear with me. Connected Asia is about how the unparalleled and explosive growth in connectivity in Asia is driving all kinds of amazing new technologies and business models in the tech, media, gaming and sports sectors. It’s also about the legal and commercial challenges this growth is creating. Connected Asia is mostly written by Matt Pollins, who’s a lawyer based in Singapore (and originally based in London). Matt is part of the team at Olswang Asia. Olswang is one of the world’s leading tech, media and telecoms law firms with offices in London, Madrid, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Munich and Singapore and an international network of best friend firms. If you’re interested in any of the topics discussed here, please do get in touch. It wouldn’t be a legal blog without a disclaimer. Views expressed on Connected Asia are the author’s own and nothing on Connected Asia constitutes legal advice or creates a lawyer-client relationship. Photo of the laser show at Marina Bay Sands by erwinsoo, who takes some amazing photos of...

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