Castore Sign Multi-year Deal with Melbourne Storm

Australian National Rugby League (NRL) side Melbourne Storm has become the latest sports team to sign up emerging sportswear brand Castore as its kit supplier.

The two sides have agreed a five-year deal, beginning with the 2021 season and running until the 2025 campaign.

Sports marketing agency WH Sports brokered the agreement, as was the case with Castore’s first entry into the Australian market when it signed a kit supply deal with fellow NRL side, the Sydney Roosters in October.

The brand has identified the country as a key growth market in its international development plans.

Castore will take over the role from Australian teamwear specialists ISC.

The UK-based sportswear brand is increasingly moving into the teams kit supply sector, having signed deals with Scottish football club Rangers, Cricket West Indies and the Lawn Tennis Association.

There is also a yet-to-be announced deal with English Premier League side Newcastle United.

In August, the company appointed Pascal Lafitte as head of team partnerships, commercial and marketing.

The Liverpool-based Castore was founded in 2016 after Tom and Phil Beahon decided to ditch professional sport for the apparel business. Previously, the brothers played at Liverpool, Manchester United and Tranmere Rovers in the academy teams.

ClearScore partner Fulham as sleeve sponsor for 2020/21 season

Top-flight English soccer club Fulham have named credit scoring and product marketplace ClearScore as their principal partner and sleeve sponsor.

The company’s logo was visible on the left sleeve of the Fulham players during their Premier League games against Everton and Leicester City, and will continue to appear on the team’s shirts until the end of the 2020/21 season.

In addition, ClearScore will benefit from brand exposure via pitchside LED perimeter advertising and on the scoreboard at the club’s Craven Cottage home.

The deal, which was brokered by the WH Sports agency, is the second major partnership to be signed by Fulham since their return to England’s top flight, after they named gambling firm BetVictor as their shirt sponsor for two years.

“We are excited to work with a progressive organisation which offers a broad range of financial information and services for free,” said Fulham chief executive Alistair Mackintosh. “The ClearScore logo complements our stylish playing shirts and provides fantastic exposure for the ClearScore brand to a global football audience.”

ICM.com Become The Official Sleeve Partner of Newcastle United

WH Sports are delighted to announce a new shirt sleeve partnership with between global investment house ICM.com and Newcastle United Football Club.

The Magpies’ first team will bear the award-winning firm’s ICM.com branding on their shirt sleeves over the 2020/21 Premier League season, while ICM.com will also benefit from a number of additional commercial benefits including high profile advertising and hospitality.

ICM.com is the official website of ICM Capital – an international online Forex and CFD trading firm established in 2009.

It is regulated in seven jurisdictions around the world and offers a diverse range of trading products including foreign exchange, commodities, futures and indices.

ICM.com’s Civil Liability Insurance Programme, which protects ICM clients against losses caused by any error, omission, negligence, fraud, or the failure to perform its activities or services, covers up to £5,000,000 (terms and conditions apply).

Dale Aitchison, head of commercial at Newcastle United, said: “I am delighted to welcome ICM.com to our growing roster of leading, forward-thinking partner brands. ICM.com is already an established name in the trading industry, with 20 global awards to its name. We look forward to building on that success together with campaigns, competitions and content that deliver value to our supporters.

Shoaib Abedi, founder and director of ICM.com, said: “We are really excited to partner with Newcastle United, a world-renowned English Premier League football club. “We are looking forward to see ICM.com on the players’ sleeves in the Premier League and we will be watching on and celebrating the team’s successes with our clients and fans.”

Plus500 Become Main Sponsor of Atalanta B.C

Plus500, a leading technology platform for trading contracts for difference internationally, has signed an agreement with Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio (‘Atalanta B.C.’), to become its sole and exclusive main sponsor for a three year period beginning 1 September 2020. The deal was brokered by WH Sports, who have represented Plus500 on multiple sports sponsorship acquisitions, including main sponsorship deals with Atletico Madrid, Young Boys and Australian rugby team The Brumbies.

Atalanta B.C. are in a hugely exciting phase of their history, finishing in the top four of Serie A three times in the last four seasons. In the UEFA Champions League, the team qualified for the 2019-2020 Final-8 tournament in Lisbon and will participate in the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League season starting from the group stage.

As part of the agreement, the Plus500 logo will feature on the front of the Atalanta B.C. jersey for both national and international games and, in addition, Plus500 will have access to branding rights.

Plus500 has derived significant returns to date through sponsorship of successful sports’ teams internationally, increasing brand recognition globally, growing brand awareness in important markets and expanding the customer base of the company in new and existing territories.

David Zruia, Chief Executive Officer of Plus500, said:  “We are pleased to be partnering with Atalanta B.C., a club that is full of soul and has a special place in the hearts of the people of Bergamo. Atalanta is a rising power in Italian and international football, and we look forward to supporting them as they continue to grow and progress, particularly as they enter another season in the UEFA Champions League. This partnership, alongside our existing sponsorship agreements, adds to the fantastic strength of our sponsorship programmes globally. It also strengthens our presence in Italy, an important market with good growth potential, and supports the international brand recognition of Plus500 and our ability to increase customer base globally.”

Luca Percassi, Chief Executive Officer of Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio, said:  “We are really happy to announce the partnership and thus welcome Plus500, a leading international company, which will be Atalanta’s main sponsor for the next three seasons. It is a great satisfaction for us to be able to collaborate with such a prestigious brand that will undoubtedly and significantly contribute to the Club’s growth. It is also a source of pride for us that Plus500, to help develop and strengthen its brand in Italy, has decided to forge this partnership with Atalanta.”

WH Sports adds teenage karting sensation to driver roster

At the age of just 14, Oliver Bearman is a multiple junior karting champion, both on a national and international stage. His accomplishments last season, claiming the 2019 X30 Junior European Series title and Junior World Finals title, make him one of the brightest talents in grass roots motorsport and WH Sports are excited to announce that Oliver is joining the agency and will be represent by our athlete management team.

Bearman – who hails from Chelmsford, Essex – is fast making a name for himself as he bids to follow countryman Lewis Hamilton all the way to the heady heights of Formula 1. Indeed, the six-time F1 World Champion is one of many to have noted the teenager’s talent, which has earned him a whole host of accolades.

Over the past four years, Bearman has won the prestigious ‘Kartmasters’ British Grand Prix, twice finished runner-up in the Super 1 National Honda Cadet Championship and – most recently – swept all before him in the IAME Winter Cup, IAME Euro Series and IAME International World Finals.

In Valencia last month, the King Edward VI Grammar School student became the first driver in history to claim the IAME Winter Cup Junior and Senior titles in consecutive years. Oliver dominated the cosmopolitan 83-strong field – comprising a great many competitors with significantly more experience than him – to sensationally clinch the X30 Senior spoils on his debut in the class, with the team he continues to enjoy so much success with – KR Sport.

Oliver will be carrying out a testing programme in 2020, alongside his karting programme with KR Sport, as he prepares to step-up to single-seaters in 2021. Oliver will be supported throughout by WH Sports, who have assembled a team of industry experts, who have successfully guided drivers from karts to Formula One, to support Oliver at this key stage in his career.

“We are delighted to welcome Oliver on-board,” enthused WH Sports Director Chris Harfield. “He is clearly a very hot commodity in the motorsport world right now, and his results speak for themselves – to have already achieved so much at such a young age is testament to what a special talent he is. We have a big responsibility to ensure Oliver’s talent is fulfilled and we have put a great team together to ensure he is fully supported.”

“The last few seasons have been an incredible journey, but I’m constantly pushing for more”, said the young English driver. “This is an important year in my career as I move up to the Senior class in karting, and I’m fully focussed on making sure I achieve the best results possible.”

“In motorsport, every single aspect counts, from skill behind the wheel to physical fitness, nutrition, engineering understanding, mental resilience and media interaction, and you need to be the complete package if you want to progress. I’m excited to have WH Sports behind me, and I know I will be learning from professionals at the very top of the industry. I can’t wait to get started!”

Libertex adds Getafe CF to LaLiga kit portfolio

WH Sports are delighted to announce a second La Liga kit branding partnership for Cyprus-based forex trading platform Libertex with Getafe CF, following the back-of-shirt deal with Valencia CF, announced in early August.

Under the deal, Libertex will have branding on the front-of-shorts at Getafe in domestic fixtures (LaLiga and the Copa del Rey) and the front-of-shirt in this season’s UEFA Europa League.

Getafe qualified for the Europa League after finishing fifth in LaLiga last season – one point behind fourth-place Valencia – after an outstanding first season following promotion from Spain’s second-tier division, LaLiga 1|2|3 (now rebranded as LaLiga SmartBank).

Libertex will get static signage and LED perimeter board advertising rights at Getafe’s Coliseum Alfonso Pérez stadium and training camps, and brand exposure at club events and across the club’s digital and social channels.

Getafe fans will also benefit from promotions and exclusive offers via the Libertex platform, and access to player appearances and other behind-the-scenes experiences.

Libertex is investing in European football to increase its brand recognition both in Spain and internationally, with a focus on emerging markets in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Libertex Inks Sponsorship Deal With Valencia CF

WH Sports aligns online trading platform provider Libertex with Valencia CF, becoming the new Premiums Plus Partner of the Spanish football club until the 30th of June 2021.

Under the agreement, Libertex and Valencia CF will hold promotions, exclusive offers, meetings with the players and more, the statement said. The partnership adds to the trading provider’s list of sports sponsorships.

Commenting on the agreement, President of the football club Anil Murthy said he is: “very satisfied with the agreement reached with Libertex, another multinational company that joins Valencia CF to continue growing both locally and globally.

“Libertex is an example of a serious and solvent company in a very competitive market that wants to increase their position as a reference in its sector, the same way as Valencia CF has also looked for it throughout its history.”
Libertex continues to invest in football

The forex broker Libertex has previously shown an interest in sponsoring high profile football stars, especially of high calibre. The company has been sponsoring Colombian football player James Rodriguez since 2016.

Michael Geiger, CEO of Libertex

“Valencia CF is a top-level club internationally, with a long and successful history, with whom we share a common feeling in terms of emotions, passion and success stories,” added Michael Geiger, the CEO of Libertex. “Valencia CF is the perfect partner to deliver our brand, our message and our services to potential customers to continue growing in the market. We believe it will be a great and ambitious season for both of us and we will support each other.”

Newcastle United seals sleeve deal with StormGain

Premier League club Newcastle United has signed a new sleeve partnership with cryptocurrency trading platform StormGain.

Under the deal, StormGain will have branding on the left sleeve of all Newcastle United first-team kits during the 2019-20 season.

StormGain will also have physical signage rights at Newcastle’s St. James’ Park stadium and training ground, and will get other branding and digital activation rights.

In official statement, Newcastle said that StormGain will offer ticket give-aways, match-day hospitality experiences, signed merchandise and VIP meet-and-greets with first-team players.

The StormGain platform allows users to trade futures for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and can also act as a e-wallet for cryptocurrency holdings.

The deal was brokered by London-based agency WH Sports, which also brokered a similar cryptocurrency sleeve partnership between Wolverhampton Wanderers and CoinDeal last season.

South Sydney Rabbitohs Partner With EuropeFX

The South Sydney Rabbitohs are excited to welcome EuropeFX as its Official Foreign Exchange Partner. The EuropeFX logo will feature on the front of the Rabbitohs playing shorts for the remainder of the 2019 season, and at least until the end of the 2020 season.

EuropeFX are one of Europe’s most-recognized foreign exchange firms, operating a multi-asset trading environment, serving retail and institutional clients in over 30 countries. Headquartered in Cyprus, with offices in Germany and Malta, EuropeFX is looking to expand its reach into the Australian market operating out of its brand new, state-of-the-art facilities in Sydney.

EuropeFX’s Chief Operating Officer had this to say about the opportunity to partner with the world famous Rabbitohs.

“While the company has created a strong foundation in Europe, where the response to our blend of tradable assets and cutting-edge trading platforms has been exceptional, the initial response to the brand in Australia exceeded all expectations, prompting our decision to establish a presence in Sydney, and who better to partner with, than the South Sydney Rabbitohs”, he said.

“It was the Rabbitohs relentless determination and never-ending pursuit of excellence that made them our number one choice when it came to sports sponsorship in Australia.”

“The Rabbitohs are a true powerhouse in the National Rugby League and are serial contenders for the top honours in all domestic and international competitions.

“Everyone at EuropeFX will be rooting for the Rabbitohs as they strive for an unprecedented 22nd Premiership in the 2019 NRL season.”

The Rabbitohs have welcomed several new partners in 2019 including Zoom, Safe2Pay and Wotif.com. The addition of EuropeFX further reinforces the Club’s reputation as the go-to corporate partner for leading companies in the digital sector.

Heartbreak for Menezes after ‘drive of his life’ at Le Mans

Gustavo Menezes’ bid to make it three podium finishes from four starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours ended in heartbreak last weekend (15/16 June) in the 87th running of the race widely regarded as the toughest in the world – but the talented young American still managed to turn heads with his scintillating raw speed.

The culmination of the fiercely-disputed FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’, Le Mans is as gruelling as they come – 24 hours of blood, sweat and tears for drivers, mechanics, engineers, cars and tyres alike. A record-breaking 62 entries tackled the 2019 edition of the legendary round-the-clock classic, which was preceded by an official test day, at which Rebellion Racing posted the quickest time of the non-hybrid teams in the headlining LMP1 category.

Entering the race week sporting a vibrant new, neon ‘art car’ livery – courtesy of a tie-up with Los Angeles-based artist Tomyboy and his Rocketbyz brand – the No.3 entry piloted by Menezes, Thomas Laurent and Nathanaël Berthon overcame engine issues that significantly restricted the trio’s track time to secure fourth on the grid in a disrupted final qualifying session.

That was achieved by dint of a stellar late effort from Menezes that lifted the Rebellion-Gibson R-13 prototype above ex-McLaren Formula 1 ace Stoffel Vandoorne in the best-placed of the two SMP Racing cars. Not for the first time this season, the 24-year-old Californian was the fastest Rebellion driver over a single lap, less than a second shy of pole position around the 13.626km La Sarthe circuit and almost three seconds quicker than a certain Fernando Alonso in one of the pace-setting Toyotas.

Menezes took the start of the race, and after gaining a position away from the line, he briefly outfoxed World Champion-elect Sébastien Buemi for second before focussing on fending off another former F1 driver in the shape of Vitaly Petrov for third.

An enthralling cat-and-mouse duel ensued as the 2016 FIA WEC LMP2 Champion, Le Mans class-winner and ‘Revelation of the Year’ initially found himself unable to shake off the SMP car due to its straight-line speed advantage. A combination of superior racecraft – particularly through the traffic – and excellent pit-stops from the Rebellion crew, however, eventually allowed him to pull clear, and by the time he handed over to Berthon, he had established a margin of almost a minute.

Ground was lost when Laurent was subsequently boxed in during a pit visit, but worse was to follow. As darkness began to fall, the Frenchman made contact with the wall at the second Mulsanne chicane, requiring an unscheduled pit-stop for replacement front bodywork and relegating the No.3 car to fifth, a full lap behind its two SMP rivals.

Menezes returned to the cockpit at 11pm and immediately went on the attack, making short work of overhauling the fourth-placed SMP and – with the bit well-and-truly between his teeth – going on to reduce the deficit to Egor Orudzhev in the sister car to less than 50 seconds. That relentless pressure ultimately told as the Russian crashed just before 1:30am, reinstating the Rebellion in third.

Berthon and Laurent maintained the rhythm during their stints before Menezes got back in approaching 7am, but half-an-hour later, the crew was handed a three-minute stop-and-go penalty for a tyre rule violation. That dropped the Williams-Harfield Sports Group protégé behind the surviving SMP entry once again, and as he endeavoured to regain the initiative, he found himself edged onto the kerb by a lapped GT car going through the Porsche Curves, sending the R-13 into a spin and beaching it in the gravel.

The delay cost the Rebellion two laps, and brake failure shortly before 10am necessitated another lengthy pit visit, leaving Menezes, Laurent and Berthon a frustrated and disappointed fifth at the chequered flag – albeit securing them third position in the final World Championship standings, and top non-hybrid competitor.

The statistics also showed that the highly-rated Santa Monica native set the third-fastest lap time of the 186 drivers in the race and was second-quickest in terms of average pace, a scant 0.018s adrift of Mike Conway’s benchmark in the Toyota – an impressive achievement indeed given the performance disparity between the hybrid and non-hybrid entries. And as for a return to the podium at Le Mans, well, he reasons, there’s always next year…

“That was a long 24 hours!” reflected Menezes, a former winner of the coveted Jim Russell Driver Scholarship Award. “We felt quite confident going into the race after practice and qualifying, and I got an amazing start to pass the SMP and then get around the second of the Toyotas too, though I slightly caught the back of it in the process, which cost us a bit of front end downforce.

“We had a good battle with the SMP early on – it was so fast in a straight line that I could never quite break away from it, but after the Rebellion boys changed the nose on the R-13 at the first pit-stop, I was able to pull clear and handed the car over to Nathanaël in a strong position.

“He then picked up the baton, but we lost some time in one of the pit-stops – with the pit-lane being so tight at Le Mans, we got stuck between cars in the boxes either side of us. We lost further time when Thomas hit the wall, which left us almost a lap behind the SMP in third place and when I got back in at around 11pm, the team just told me, ‘qualifying mode – let’s go!’ That stint was probably the drive of my life – I put my absolute heart and soul into it and was faster than the Toyotas at times.

“Nathanaël did a great job again to settle into a consistent rhythm and strengthen our grip on third, before Thomas maintained that momentum in the morning, and we had two minutes in-hand over the SMP when I returned to the cockpit just before 7am on Sunday. The objective at that stage was simply to bring it home, and it was nice not to have to take as many risks as I had done during the night – if you push too hard for too long in a race like Le Mans, ultimately, you’re asking for trouble.

“Towards the end of my stint, I had just put the SMP a lap down when I received a radio message saying I had to pit next time round to serve a three-minute penalty due to having the wrong serial number on the tyres we had taken on at the last stop, which wasn’t even the team’s mistake. As I exited the pits again on ice cold tyres, I could only watch as the SMP flashed past to move into third. After all the effort we had put in to pull so far ahead, that was absolutely galling and the race really unravelled from there.

“We had no choice but to re-engage ‘quali mode’, and I had almost caught Vandoorne back up when I got squeezed by a GT car going through the Porsche Curves. I clipped the kerb, and that sent me into a spin. It was so sad to see the podium just slip through our fingers and the brake failure then hammered the final nail into the coffin, but honestly, I can’t praise Rebellion Racing and my two team-mates highly enough for the incredible job that everyone did. The pace we had was unreal, so we’ll just have to come back next year and try again…”

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