News from day three of SportBusiness 2001

TOO MANY SPONSORS SPOIL THE BROTH Sport risks losing the number of sponsors to other forms of entertainment unless it can cut down the clutter - Sally Hancock, CEO of sponsorship consultants redmandarin has warned. Speaking on the second day...

TOO MANY SPONSORS SPOIL THE BROTH

Sport risks losing the number of sponsors to other forms of entertainment unless it can cut down the clutter - Sally Hancock, CEO of sponsorship consultants redmandarin has warned.

Speaking on the second day of sport industry conference SportBusiness 2001, in central London, Hancock warned that an over-clutter trend threatened to drive sponsorship elsewhere.

"The incredible growth we have seen in sports sponsorship over the last few years will slow down," Hancock told the conference.

"There is a sense of clutter, of over-inflation which is making firms move away from sport altogether and invest instead in other forms of entertainment.

"I would advise that unless you are the main premium sponsor, then don't go there - you will never create standout."

Barrie Gill, vice-chairman of UK sponsorship consultants CSS-Stellar, said despite the clutter-factor, it was still a price many were prepared to pay.

"Clutter is a problem but the most cluttered sport for sponsorship is also the richest - Formula One. There are sponsors everywhere and it works. If you want to get your message to a wide audience then people are prepared to pay."

EUROPE PRIMED FOR STADIUM REVOLUTION

Continental Europe is waking up to the commercial benefits to be gained from new stadia builds said a panel of industry experts on the second day of industry conference SportBusiness 2001.

Although developments in the UK and US "were five to ten years ahead of the continent", Dr Hermann Richter, senior vice president, business development with UFA Sport, said the new Volkspark Stadium in Hamburg "proved that building a new stadium in Europe is possible on a private basis." Dr Richter expects the DM180m/190m ($83m-$87.5m) Volkspark Stadium to be completed next month at only 10% above the initial cost estimate of DM160/165DM ($73.5m-$76m).

The new home of Hamburg SV was part financed by loans from three German banks and guaranteed by UFA Sports, which has a 15-year marketing agreement with the Bundesliga club.

The stadium will seat 55,000 - with a 5,000-seater area convertible to a 10,00 standing area for non-UEFA matches - and incorporates 50 luxury suites and over 1,000 business seats.

"We have done market research into all the main user groups - media, sponsors, fans," said Dr Richter. "The concept is working." A further boost for European stadium financing was revealed by Charles Aster, partner with the New York law firm Coudert Brothers. Aster said that US financing would support a new mid-size stadium on the continent, proving that "it is possible to do project financing for a 25,000-30,000-seater stadium."

ORADNET UNVEILS NEW ONLINE APPLICATION

Internet application development company OradNet and computer software giant Intel have launched a new application they say will be the ultimate interactive experience to view soccer on the web.

The companies say TOPlay Soccer will give football fans new dimensions through which to view the action and believe it will drive traffic to sports sites who will then benefit from increased revenue generation. Launched at SportBusiness 2001, TOPlay Soccer allows viewers to manipulate 3D graphic simulation of real football matches directly from a standard PC with a standard modem.

-Sports Business

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