Herbalife – a major sport sponsor

From time to time, we at New Millennium Business and via our newsletter, “Back on the Block”, bring you stories about major sports and events sponsors who are leaders in their field, leaders in innovative thinking and certainly important financial mainstays of sporting and other events. Here we look at global nutrition company, Herbalife.

Herbalife was the Official Nutrition Partner of the recent 2013 Guinness International Champions Cup.  The company sponsors more than 150 world-class athletes, teams and events including the official nutrition sponsor of international football player, Cristiano Ronaldo, LA Galaxy in the US; FC Pumas in Mexico; Inter Milan FC; Valencia CF; Schalke04 in Germany; the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) in the US; Brazilian team, Botafogo; Spartak-Moscow in Russia; Maccabi football and basketball teams; and the national teams of Belgium and Venezuela. Most recently they added sponsorship of Swedish soccer team Hammarby. Now that’s quite some list of properties! None such as these yet in Australia…

The Guinness International Champions Cup eight-team tournament, features some of the world's best and most prestigious football clubs from Spain, Italy, England and the United States. It ran from 27 July with the championship final in Miami on 7 August. Herbalife activated around this sports marketing platform with promotional opportunities in and around participating venues. As the Official Nutrition Partner of the event, the company provided teams with a range of nutrition products, including its sports drink, Herbalife24 Hydrate.

The Guinness International, organised by Relevent Sports, a division of RSE Ventures, and broadcast by Fox, is the first-of-its-kind football tournament taking place across the globe with contests in Phoenix, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Valencia, Spain. Teams that competed at this year’s event were Real Madrid (Spain), Chelsea FC (UK), A.C. Milan (Italy), Juventus (Italy), Inter Milan (Italy), Valencia CF (Spain), Everton FC (UK) and LA Galaxy (US).

So here you have an excellent example of comprehensive and well-planned activation of brand…in this case, Herbalife.

Going beyond their established ‘corridors’, Herbalife Vietnam has agreed a partnership with Vietnam Olympic Committee to be the official nutrition sponsor for Vietnam's athletes competing at the 27th South East Asian Games 2013 (SEA Games 2013) in Myanmar to be held from 11 December to 22 December this year. The sponsorship will see Herbalife providing its nutrition products and sports nutrition consulting and trainings for all the 800 qualified athletes competing in 29 sports disciplines at the Games. This agreement is an extension of an MOU signed in 2012 with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam which made Herbalife the exclusive official nutrition sponsor of Vietnam sports from 2012 to 2016.

Little is openly declared about Herbalife's expenditures on sponsorship. It is known that their 10 year deal with LA Galaxy is worth more than $44 million.

Herbalife has developed nutrition products for athletes, including Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix, Personalized Protein Powder, and Multivitamin Complex. Dr. Marco De Angelis, a member of the Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board, has consulted with Olympic athletes and sports federations in Italy, China, and Russia. The company conducts the sports nutrition training sessions for sport and athletics clubs and organisations and in Myanmar will assist the participating athletes in their preparation for the SEA Games 2013.

These activities are part of Herbalife's broader sponsorship programs aimed at promoting healthy and active lifestyles, supported by good nutrition.  

In an interesting twist to sponsorship negotiation, Herbalife’s deal to become the official major sponsor, and official jersey sponsor, of the LA Galaxy football team in the US, was worked through with venue operator AEG, who manage the team’s playing commitments, rather than the owners.

Eric Winton

Director, New Millennium Business

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