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Visa names RWC 2007 ambassadors

Visa has unveiled its ‘Rugby Legends’ line-up which will act as ambassadors for the brand's sponsorship of next year’s Rugby World Cup.

Zinzan Brooke (New Zealand), John Eales (Australia), Martin Johnson (England), Philippe Sella (France) and Joel Stransky (South Africa) will act as official spokesmen for Visa for the build-up to and during the tournament itself.

John Smith's renews Grand National deal

Scottish & Newcastle has renewed its sponsorship deal with Aintree Racecourse meaning the John Smith's brand will continue to hold the naming rights for the Grand National until 2010.

The new contract extends the existing relationship, which was due to expire in 2007, by a further three years. The renewal deal will also see a spike in the total prize money for horse racing’s biggest event in the calendar.

ING circling Belgian GP naming rights

ING is believed to be closing in on the title sponsorship of the Belgian Grand Prix as part of a €100m annual investment in Formula One.

The move from the financial services brand, which would begin from next year, would mark the third major F1 sponsorship that ING has signed in recent months.

It has already tied up a title rights deal for the Australian Grand Prix and a three-year naming rights contract with the Renault F1 team. ING is also a track sponsor at 13 of the races over the course of the F1 season.

Yazoo ties with RFU Tag Rugby

Milkshake brand Yazoo is the latest firm to tackle the child obesity issue through grass-roots sport after agreeing to sponsor the RFU’s Tag Rugby programme which takes the sport to 450,000 school children every year.

Tag Rugby, the RFU’s long-running schools initiative, delivers 25,000 training sessions each year into schools.As part of the deal, Yazoo will donate rugby balls, tag-belts and other equipment to thousands of schools across the UK.

Yazoo will also be sponsoring more than 50 regional Tag Rugby festivals throughout the year.

Whirlpool renews WTA Tour deal

Home appliance brand Whirlpool has extended its multi-million pound sponsorship of the WTA Tour for another three years meaning its association with women’s tennis will continue through to 2009.

The sponsorship deal sees Whirlpool continue to sit underneath the Tour’s title sponsor Sony Ericsson as a premier partner. It is not known how much the new contract is worth.

As well as the on-court signage and exposure opportunities afforded to it, Whirlpool will also continue to sponsor the broadcast coverage of the Tour on Eurosport as part of the renewal deal.

MasterCard and FIFA go to court

MasterCard’s court case against world football governing body FIFA begins today as the credit card brand looks for compensation over the loss of its World Cup sponsorship deal to rival Visa.

MasterCard believes that it was unfairly treated by FIFA after its existing sponsorship contract expired at the end of this summer’s World Cup.

The credit card giant claims that its contractual agreement with FIFA stated that MasterCard should be given first option on a renewal deal – an opportunity that MasterCard says was never extended to it.

Search for ref sponsor gathers momentum

The Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO), the body responsible for managing and providing all match referees in English football, is thought to be close to finalising a deal in its search for a replacement for outgoing sponsor Emirates.

The identity of the brand is not yet known but it is thought to be a company familiar with sport sponsorship. 

The PGMO has been actively seeking a new main principal sponsor following the announcement that Emirates will not be renewing its current association when its agreement expires at the end of this season (2006/07).


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