Throughout 2012 the sponsorship department has supported the Brands Division of the Sports Direct group by providing brand visibility through high profile endorsements around the world.
Each brand has been strategically aligned with events, endorsements and athletes that will raise brand profiles amongst consumers and provide a valued platform to be recognisable on the global stage.
As with previous years Slazenger’s affiliation with The Wimbledon Championships remains a key component of the group’s overall sponsorship activity, which is the longest sports sponsorship in sporting goods history, since 1902. Slazenger supply approx. 54,000 tennis balls to cover qualifying, practice and matches whilst also installing and maintaining all court furniture and court canvassing reinforcing Slazenger’s reputation as a leading player in the tennis field. The brand also sponsors international tennis players Ross Hutchins and Jamie Murray who both compete in the Davis Cup for Great Britain alongside Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman who works in an ambassadorial role.
Elsewhere Slazenger has had continued success in cricket with the sponsorship of numerous top International cricketers across all forms of the game. Slazenger has agreements with the ICC’s number-one ranked test bowler Dale Steyn and legendry all-rounder Jacque Kallis who this season has become the fourth batsman in history to pass 13,000 Test runs. Both play for the worlds number one test side, South Africa.
England players Eoin Morgan, Jonathan Bairstow and leading bowler James Anderson make up the England ‘Three Lions’. Jonny Bairstow has been with the Slazenger brand for a decade and in that time has progressed to compete in all forms of International cricket with England.
Elsewhere the brand was represented at the 2012 Olympics by hockey players Ali Wilson, Ben Hawes, Dan Fox and Iain Mackay, further cementing the brands reputation as a Team Sports specialist.
The Dunlop brand has continued in its sponsorship of the worlds top golfers as former world number-one Lee Westwood and, The 2011 Open winner, Darren Clarke continue their partnership with the brand. Dunlop’s sponsorship in golf also includes that of Ryder Cup winner David Howell, and South African Thomas Aiken who endorses the new line of Dunlop golf clubs.
In women’s golf the LPGA Player of the Year Stacy Lewis endorses Antigua’s line of golf clothing.
Dunlop’s renowned heritage in racket sports continues as the brand sponsors two-time World Champion squash player Nick Matthew and former World number-one players Gregory Gaultier and Lee Beachill. The Dunlop squash ball continues to be used by the sport’s leading tournaments as the ball of choice.
Dunlop are also the Official Ball Supplier to major tennis tournaments on the professional Tour; including The ATP Masters events held in Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome which all generate significant brand exposure during the clay court season. Dunlop’s impressive stable of sponsored tennis players includes Nicolas Almagro, Fernando Verdasco, Jurgen Melzer, Dominika Cibulkova and Heather Watson as well as Dunlop ambassadors John McEnroe and Pat Cash.
In order to identify the brands objectives to expand into popular new categories including fishing and table tennis, Dunlop now has signed popular UK actor and fishing enthusiast Robson Green, host of popular TV programme ‘Extreme fishing with Robson Green’, as well as British number one Table Tennis player Paul Drinkhall, who competed at The London 2012 Olympics.
In fight sports Lonsdale continues to be aligned as a leading manufacturer and marketer of premier boxing, MMA and other fight sports equipment and sports fashion clothing. On the streets and in the gym, Lonsdale is one of the most famous brands in the world. Delivering iconic British style to brand conscious and sports fashion consumers, by combining heritage with modern design into sportswear with street style.
The brand enjoys massive support from current and historic athlete endorsements including famous boxers Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Henry Cooper and Lennox Lewis to Carl Froch, David Price, Nathan Cleverly, Joe Calzaghe and UFC star Tom ‘Kong’ Watson.
There have been some exciting acquisitions in Lonsdale as the brand moves further into sports fashion as Lonsdale has announced a new collaboration with popular UK TV presenter, actor and model Amy Childs to create a limited edition underwear range. Lonsdale’s UFC fighter Tom ‘Kong’ Watson has also showcased Lonsdale’s limited edition underwear.
Also in fight sports Everlast remains the brand of choice for generations of world champion professional athletes from heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey and middleweight legend Sugar Ray Robinson to the former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor and former UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture. Today’s Everlast heroes include undefeated world boxing champion Andre Ward, MMA star Jon Jones and American Football player Reggie Bush. Built on a brand heritage of authenticity and individuality, Everlast is a necessary part of the lives of countless athletes and fitness enthusiasts who train, compete and live an active lifestyle.
Graham Bell, the former British Olympic skier, adventurer and BBC TV presenter for Ski Sunday, is an ambassador for Nevica’s ski wear range and is actively involved in the development of the range. Current Team GB ski star Dougie Crawford also endorses Nevica clothing as he prepares for the Winter Olympics in Sochi 2014.
Iconic British outdoor and adventure brand Karrimor also continues to be the preferred choice amongst both leisure and more serious climbers for back packs, equipment, apparel and accessories. Bonita Norris, the youngest ever British female to have successfully climbed Mount Everest at 22 years old is an endorsee of Karrimor’s range of widely-acclaimed products as is two-time Olympic Gold Medalist James Cracknell who endorses the brand and wears them on his popular TV show ‘The Worlds Toughest Expeditions’.
And finally, popular British Sports TV presenter and fitness enthusiast Kirsty Gallagher has played a leading role in the re-emergence of USA Pro, acting as an endorsee for the brand known for producing ladies fitness apparel and training accessories. USA Pro historically has also been the brand of choice for the fitness apparel needs of celebrities including: Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears and Victoria Beckham.