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AC Milan, Puma announce long-term extension of kit deal....Kylian Mbappé joins NFT platform Sorare as investor and ambassador.....U.K. drops plan to ban EPL gambling sponsorships

AC Milan reportedly doubles value of Puma deal

Puma has "more than doubled the value of its sponsorship deal to kit out AC Milan," a source said on Wednesday, as the German brand extended its partnership with the '21-22 Serie A champs. This year was the first time the club had won Serie A in 11 years, and RedBird Capital Partners recently agreed to buy the team for €1.2B ($1.26B). No financial details were given, but a source said that Puma will pay just above €30M ($31.4M) per year under a new five-year contract. Puma and AC Milan "declined to comment on the figure and the duration of the new contract." Under the existing agreement, Puma, the club's technical supplier since '18, is paying a yearly fee of around €14M ($14.7M). The new deal, effective January '23, will give Puma the naming rights to AC Milan's youth sector and women's sport center (REUTERS, 6/29).

Mbappé joins forces with NFT platform Sorare

NFT fantasy soccer game Sorare today announced that French national F Kylian Mbappé is joining the company as an investor and exclusive player ambassador. Football players, clubs and leagues have been "rushing to tap into the growth of digital assets, such as tradable NFTs and so-called fan tokens," as a way to monetize their global fan base and generate revenue on top of broadcast and sponsorship deals. Sorare hopes that signing up a player widely seen as the world’s best will help "boost its limited profile." Mbappé has a combined Twitter and Instagram following of more than 80 million, compared with Sorare’s 155,000. The company declined to provide any financial details of its deal with Mbappé (FINANCIAL TIMES, 6/29).

U.K. drops plan to ban EPL gambling sponsorships

U.K. PM Boris Johnson is "poised to announce curbs on online gambling," but ministers have "dropped plans" to ban gambling companies from sponsoring EPL shirts after "a backlash from the industry." Nearly half of the clubs in the EPL in '21-22 were sponsored by gambling companies, "which has led to criticism from MPs and campaigners." The government is "hoping to reach a voluntary agreement with the clubs while keeping the option of legislation in reserve." Plans for a mandatory levy on the gambling industry to fund research and treatment of addiction, based on the "polluter pays" principle, have also been rejected. The government estimates that online gambling revenues could fall by more than £700M ($849M) as a result of the restrictions, which include maximum stakes of between £2 ($2.43) and £5 ($6.07) for online casinos and a ban on free bets (LONDON TIMES, 6/28).

PSG names Qatar Airways shirt sponsor

Paris St. Germain named Qatar Airways its shirt partner, starting with the '22-23 season. The airline has been a premium partner of the club since '20, and under the new deal, it will appear on the jerseys of PSG's men's, womens and youth teams. The partnership will also see Qatar Airways Holidays offering official PSG fan travel packages, bringing club supporters to Paris (PSG).

PSG's shirt deal with Qatar Airways "will only further fuel criticism" of PSG’s reliance on Qatar-related sponsorship deals. Qatar Airways is replacing Accor Hotels' "Live Limitless" logo on the PSG shirt. No value was given for the new sponsorship, though Accor was understood to be paying between €60-70M ($63-73M) per season, and Qatar Airways "won’t be paying any less." The Qatar Airways deal also comes with the announcement that Hamad International Airport in Doha will be the club’s official airport and duty-free, with a club merchandise store to open in the QDF (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 6/29).

Everton takeover could be completed within weeks

The Kaminski family bankrolling the takeover bid for Everton is "aiming to have reached an agreement" to buy the club by the time Manager Frank Lampard’s team arrives in Minneapolis on July 21 for a friendly against Minnesota United (London TELEGRAPH, 6/29). Meanwhile, more than 20,000 people signed a petition calling for Everton to abandon its choice of betting firm Stake.com as its new main sponsor, starting in '22-23. That deal has divided supporters, "who believe that Everton should not be in partnership with betting companies." The club reportedly has no plans to reverse its decision on the Stake.com agreement, "which is viewed as the biggest front-of-shirt deal outside the top six" (LIVERPOOL ECHO, 6/29).

Silverstone to increase entertainment offering

Execs at British F1 venue Silverstone will "target high-profile music acts and a sustainability agenda" to ensure the British GP "keeps pace" with the Miami and Las Vegas F1 races. Silverstone Managing Dir Stuart Pringle hopes to follow the likes of Melbourne's Albert Park, which recently inked a 10-year contract. To boost its offering, Silverstone is "plotting a two-pronged case:" making the British GP more of a festival, and "improving its eco credentials." Pringle: "There is an expectation to a level of entertainment that is something that has not previously been seen at Silverstone. ... How do we do that in our own way without being becoming some homogenized American-based product, but we keep the unique identity of the British Grand Prix? The answer is we make it more of a British summer festival. You're going to see a big upscale in the quality of the music acts over the next few years" (MOTORSPORT.com, 6/28).

Bayern names new Managing Dir for the Americas

By Tyler Everett

Bayern Munich today named Dee Kundra its Managing Dir for the Americas. In her new role, Kundra, who has led the club's marketing and communications efforts in the Americas since '17, replaces President of the Americas Rudolf Vidal as manager of the Bundesliga club's North American HQ on Madison Avenue. She will report to Bayern Munich Chief of Staff Moritz Mattes, who is responsible for the team's offices in N.Y., Shanghai and Bangkok. Bayern is currently carrying out a strategic review project led by CEO Oliver Kahn. The conclusions gleaned from the FC Bayern AHEAD project, which began in ’20 and is expected to be completed late this year, will shape Kundra’s leadership of the club’s business in the Americas. Kundra: "This is really going to help us be innovative and creative and help us create clear strategic goals about how we remain a frontrunner and compete in global football as it is at the moment. Then from that, we will create our regional strategy."


SHIFTING THE FOCUS
: She added that the club’s goals for the U.S. and the region as a whole -- including key Latin American markets like Mexico and Brazil -- have evolved since the opening of the N.Y. office eight years ago. "When we first opened in 2014, I would say that in a way, we had a pure marketing mindset," Kundra said. "We knew that we had to raise awareness of the brand and grow our fanbase. Today, we still have to maintain that, but equally, there’s a strong change in terms of, there is a focus on enhancing revenues through various business streams." One area Kundra highlighted is grassroots, which she said will be an emphasis.

LOOKING AHEAD
: As for how the success of the club’s efforts in the Americas will be determined, she pointed to the '26 World Cup as a pivotal event for Bayern. "Our aim is to be one of the most relevant soccer properties in that timeframe," she said. "The real test is going to be 2027, after the World Cup. That’s when we’ll see the successes of reach and revenue."

CHAMPIONING WOMEN
: Kundra recognized the significance of her role as an example to other women in the industry, saying, "My personal goal is to keep learning and growing, but it’s also to champion women in sport. I’ve had the benefit of working with incredible men and women who have always supported me and championed my success. It’s not the easiest industry, but if I can help other people and share my experiences, I’d love to keep doing that."

Short Takes

Qatar World Cup organizers have sold 1.8 million tickets for this year's event in Qatar, FIFA said ahead of the next round of ticket sales that opens on July 5 (REUTERS, 6/29).

The Gen3 era of Formula E will begin at Mexico City on Jan. 14, after a calendar announcing 13 events and 18 races was ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Geneva today (FE).

Italy's FA (FIGC) has confirmed that the Serie A title will be decided by a play-off starting next season should the top two teams finish with the same number of points (REUTERS, 6/29).

BBC cricket summarizer Michael Vaughan has "stood down from his duties" after staff had complained that the former England captain was involved at Headingley when he had been charged by the ECB as part of its investigation into alleged racism at Yorkshire (LONDON TIMES, 6/29).

What They're Saying

"We are in discussions with the ICC (International Cricket Council) and several other cricket boards to have an exclusive window for the IPL" -- Board of Control for Cricket in India Secretary Jay Shah, on an extended 10-week window in the next int'l calendar to allow all the world's top cricketers to participate in the Twenty20 competition (REUTERS, 6/29).

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