Business news items that can make you sit up and refocus...think hard and act

"Life is a blank canvas, and you need to throw all the paint on it you can."
-- Danny Kaye, American actor and singer

We've been shunted into new realities as 2015 gets underway.
Our shock at the Martin Place siege was deepened by last week's events in France. Yet, we must go forward, maintain our principles and values and make every day count. Be focused as well as vigilant.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup is underway. The Cup is the biggest football tournament ever held in Australia. AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 runs for 23 days.  In the opening days, Australia has done well while the competition as a whole is impressive. More than 500,000 spectators - including around 30,000 fans from overseas – are expected to attend the 32 matches being played across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Newcastle. 3,500 journalists are covering the event. Host venues have had their familiar naming rights and regular sponsors removed. Tourism and trade, business and investment promotion activities are underway.  PricewaterhouseCoopers has estimated that the GDP impact from hosting the Asian Cup could be as much as $23 million.

Havana Brown headlined the Asian Cup 11-minutes opening ceremony, ahead of the opening match, Australia v Kuwait. The Aussies won that game. The Opening Ceremony featured Australian pop singer Havana Brown, Brisbane band Sheppard, Indigenous performer Geoffrey Gurrumul, and more than 200 junior footballers, dancers and professional performers. It was directed by Melbourne’s Malaysian-born Chong Lim, currently working as Musical Director of “Dancing with the Stars”. Lim wrote music for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics and was Musical Director and Composer for the Closing Ceremony of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Olympic and University Games news...
2022 Winter Games: The final contenders are now Beijing together with partner city Zhangjiakou, and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Candidature files have been submitted.

Beijing 2022 intends to capitalise on Beijing 2008's legacy, not only in terms of existing competition venues - five of which will be reused for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games - but also in terms of infrastructure, operations experience and much more.
Almaty's plan, meanwhile, is to return to a responsible, sensible concept for hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in a city that has "the ideal geography and weather for an intimate and fun Winter Games".

Each has agreed to hold the event between 4 and 20 February - and this is now a potential issue of conflict with the timing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The IOC will select a host city at its Kuala Lumpur meeting in July.

2024 Summer Games: Boston has been selected by the USOC as the US contender city, ahead of DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco. This was surprise to many. There is local opposition, based mainly on costs and city disruption and meetings are underway to manage those objections. Rome is the only other city to have officially declared so far that it will bid for the 2024 Olympics, although Boston is likely to face further opposition from Hamburg or Berlin, Baku, Budapest, Istanbul, Paris, Doha and either Pretoria or Gauteng Province in South Africa. For the time being, at least, The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) has moved to play down speculation linking the country with a bid for the 2024 Olympic Games by stating it is fully focused on Durban’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The 2019 Summer Universiade will not take place in Brasilia. The new governor, Rodrigo Rollemberg, of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB),  advised FISU that the Brazilian capital would not be in a position to meet its financial commitments within the time-frame set by the governing body. He deemed it "too risky" to honour the Government's agreement to contribute approximately US$28 million towards the Universiade, which was estimated to cost US$876 million in total. Bidding has been reopened whilst there are suggestions the new Minister for Sport may encourage an alternate Brazilian city to contend.
Brasilia was chosen to host the event in November 2013 at a time when there had been a backlash in the country at the price of staging the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Kazan, Russia hosted the games in 2013 and this year's Summer Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea is due to take place from 3 – 14 July. The 2017 edition is scheduled to be held in Taipei, Taiwan, from 19 – 30 August.

Rolex really broadens its time-keeping
Rolex, the luxury Swiss watchmaker, for a third year, will be the Title Sponsor of the FORMULA 1 ®AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX. The Title Sponsorship announcement comes as the Melbourne event prepares to celebrate its most significant milestone yet – two decades of Formula 1® racing in the city.

The 2015 FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX will once again be the season opener of the FIA Formula One World Championship™. It will be held at the iconic Albert Park Circuit, 12-15 March, 2015.

Rolex became a major long-term partner of Formula 1 from 2013 as Official Timekeeper and Official Timepiece, in December 2012; and is naming rights sponsor of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, in the UK at The Open golf championship and Wimbledon; sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open, a number of other major tournaments and several leading celebrity players including Roger Federer and Li Na; partnered the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy and is name sponsor for the Grand Slam of Show Jumping; partners a number of leading opera houses in Europe and the US.

In the late 1950s, the Swiss watchmaker became a partner of the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

In keeping with this spirit of pushing the boundary of technological endeavour, Rolex joined the Bloodhound SSC World Land Speed Record project in 2011 as the Official Timing Partner. The Bloodhound team is aiming to set a new record of 1,000 miles per hour (1,600 km/h) with a cutting-edge supersonic jet- and rocket-powered car, inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

In the same vein, Rolex announced in spring 2012 its support for Neuropolis, a world class neuroscience hub based in Switzerland which aims to improve understanding of the human brain using computational biology. This innovative approach, on the frontier of scientific research, builds on the power of supercomputers to simulate biological processes.

Qatar's quest
Qatar’s quest to become the centre of the sporting events world is inescapable. Like it or not, Qatar is pitching for many events and more significantly pouring money, by way of sponsorships et al, into a range of events and organisations around the world. And there is no question that much of its success to date, while well-strategised and featuring quite good delivery locally, is driven by money. Using its investments as effective power and image levers. As I read this week’s email about a major stadiums conference to be held in Doha, the very recent announcements about Qatar’s sports and events agenda are profound – in addition to their World Cup success, all those new venues, and their Olympics Games quest. Read on…

In December Doha hosted the World Swimming Championships. In just the last few days we had the 2015 Qatar Exxon Mobil Tennis Open, which ran from 5 to 10 January at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex. And this week saw the start to the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship and a spectacular Opening Ceremony in Lusail Hall, a stadium with a seating capacity for 15,000 spectators. Doha was named in November as host of the 2019 Athletics World Championships and will host the 2016 UCI Road World Championship.

The Qatar Equestrian Federation is sponsoring UK's Goodwood Racecourse. Qatar has bolstered its presence in British horse-racing through a 10-year title sponsorship agreement for the Goodwood Festival, starting next year. Goodwood Racecourse has claimed the deal represents the single largest sponsorship agreement in British racing history. The prize funds for the festival’s races will be substantially boosted by an investment of £2million to £4.5million. Races now include the The Qatar Sussex Stakes on 29 July, one of the most valuable mile races in the world,  the Qatar Goodwood Cup, and the Qatar Nassau Stakes.  The first two races remain part of the British Champion Series, which is title sponsored by Qatari private investment firm QIPCO.

FC Barcelona plans a friendly match in Doha, in February. The game is under a five-year agreement to June 2016 between Barca and Qatar Sports Investment. The deal is apparently worth some US$230 million. For the first two years of the contract, FC Barcelona displayed Qatar Foundation logos on their jerseys. Now they have Qatar Airways' logos. Sems to be a shift from charitable type support to a full sports sponsorship. This deal marked the first time the 111-year old club agreed a shirt sponsor. This one is worth about US$45 million per year.

Qatar Sports Investments became FC Barcelona’s majority owner in 2011.
It also bought a 70% stake in Paris St Germain (PSG) on 30 June from US based Colony Capital (having been stake owners since 2006) and became sole shareholder in 2012. The takeover made PSG the richest club in France and one of the richest in the world. Nicolas Sarkozy was to a degree the catalyst for the takeover, and some reckon this was a means to securing the vote of Michel Platini, the French president of UEFA, in support of Doha’s 2022 World Cup bid. And it looks like Michel Platini will be the sole candidate in the 2015 UEFA Presidential election campaign.

As part of the Qatar-PSG deal, several full-size outdoor billboards were located in key spots around Paris, featuring PSG players in front of iconic Qatar landmarks. Early in 2013, PSG signed an US$800 million deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority. And in September 2013 the club entered a five-year sponsorship agreement with Doha-based telecom company Ooredoo.

Qatar’s plans to secure a Formula One race have been boosted with the approval of the development of a new street circuit in the city of Lusail. Qatar has recently been linked to a 10-year race deal with the motor racing series for which it would pay a reported hosting fee of about US$78 million per season. Qatar’s Lusail International Circuit already hosts rounds on the MotoGP and Superbike World Championship motorcycling calendars and will stage the World Touring Car Championship’s maiden night race next season.

The World Taekwondo Federation has announced an alteration to the calendar for its 2015 Grand Prix Series, with Doha in Qatar replacing the Chinese city of Suzhou on the schedule.

Qatar's Al Rayyan Tourism and Investment, also known as ARTIC, has acquired the five-star Boscolo Aleph Hotel in Rome, Italy. The Boscolo Aleph Hotel in Rome is ARTIC's latest luxury hotel acquisition, growing its portfolio to 24 properties across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. The Qatari company has also acquired 97% of The Manhattan at Times Square Hotel in New York.

 New Sydney Modern coming soon
Sydney Modern, the $450 million expansion of the Art Gallery of NSW, is expected to double its existing 23,000 square metres of exhibition space, increasing the chances that works such as Çerkez's will be seen by larger audiences. This month the 12 firms that were asked to submit initial design concepts will be winnowed down to as many as five finalists by an expert panel, which will judge the proposals without knowing who submitted them. The shortlisted practices will be asked to visit the site before a finalist is chosen. 
The 12 contenders include Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, who designed the Roche Tower and transformed the old Bankside power station in London into the Tate Modern; London's David Chipperfield Architects; Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa SANAA Tokyo, who designed the new museum of contemporary art in New York; Kerry Hill Architects in Singapore; RMA Architects in Mumbai; and Renzo Piano, who first came to fame with the Centre Georges Pompidou.

About "Back on the Block"
Published by New Millennium Business. The company is led by Ericc Winton, who is widely known across the business of major international events.
I help you create defining moments....bring meaning, magic and memory to events.
As an Events Strategist and knowledge broker, I'll help you with events planning and business, working closely with enterprises like yours.

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Major sports and events business...
Sponsors make the merry-go-round
Volvo Cars will increase its commitment and investment in the Volvo Ocean Race. Rather than just another sponsoring activity, it sees the Volvo Ocean Race as purely Volvo. It is the most competitive, fair and pure blend of people. Volvo has served as the title sponsor and joint owner of the showpiece race for the past 15 years.

Euroleague Basketball has announced that Giorgio Armani S.P.A., the iconic Italian fashion house, has renewed its global partnership with the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. The new agreement will see the brand EA7 Emporio Armani integrated all season long into the competition's Game of the Week and Final Four platforms.

German car manufacturer Volkswagen has reinforced its presence at Australian tennis events by becoming the official vehicle partner of the Hopman Cup national team tournament.
Volkswagen’s latest partnership comes after it joined forces with the Brisbane International, International Sydney and Kooyong Classic events in 2013. The Hopman Cup, Brisbane International and International Sydney are part of the Australian Open Series, which builds towards the first of tennis’ four annual grand slam tournaments.
Under the Hopman Cup deal, the terms for which were not disclosed, Volkswagen supplied a fleet of 25 vehicles to transport players and officials around Perth. The event took place from 4-10 January.

Former Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko has been appointed as the new head of Gazprom-Media, Russia's largest media company. We reported recently that he had taken over as President of the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League. He is also head of Volga Group, which manages the assets of billionaire and close Vladimir Putin ally Gennady Timchenko. 

Connecting with Ericc:
Luxury brands are changing

Luxury brands lose 50% of their top customers annually because they routinely misidentify their demographic and economic profile while also failing to create a personalized sales experience for them, according to new research from global marketing and crm agency Epsilon and research and consulting firm The Luxury Institute. Epsilon analysed and compared 30,000 luxury shoppers to uncover insights, myths and stereotypes of the luxury shopper, the firm said.

According to the findings, luxury brands mistakenly believe their customers are typically female and on average 45-years old with a net worth over $1 million. However, 57.5% of luxury spenders are in fact male. They are likely to be of Asian and Middle-Eastern descent with a net worth over $500,000. In addition, nearly 13.8% of shoppers with a net worth over $1 million invest mostly in modern, contemporary decor and gifts as opposed to high-ticket apparel items.

The Apple Watch is set to be launched in early 2015.
Already, it's impact on the watch industry is noteable. About 1.2 billion watches are produced each year, mainly in China, with luxury segments dominated by Swiss-made brands. The Swiss industry comprises a handful of vertically integrated conglomerates. The majors include important events and sports sponsors: Swatch Group (brands include Swatch, Omega, Harry Winston, and Tissot), Richemont (Montblanc, Piaget, Cartier, Alfred Dunhill), LVMH (Tag Heuer, Hublot, Zenith), and Rolex (Rolex and Tudor). How relevant is a watch as a time device? Or is it “more of a social signal, communicating the wearer’s external values such as status or personality.” [Credit Suisse].  A number of the prestige brands are now looking at producing models to meet the Apple Watch head on. Apple can’t be under-estimated.

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