Egypt Independent: Business-Main news en Under Armour leads Olympic marketing shake-up after 'rule 40' changes <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText"><span class="focusParagraph"><span class="articleLocatio&lt;/span&gt;n">Against a backdrop of the iconic five rings, legendary swimmer Michael Phelps sat on a United States Olympic Committee stage at a March media event in Los Angeles, telling reporters why he had arrived fashionably late.</span></span></span></p><p><span id="articleText">He had been rushed by private jet from Baltimore, courtesy of his sponsor Under Armour, which had held its own media event the same day (a coincidence, the company said). Phelps called Under Armour-backed athletes a &quot;family&quot; and its chief executive Kevin Plank a visionary with &quot;mind-blowing ideas.&quot; </span></p><p><span id="articleText">The scene previewed the kind of marketing to expect during this summer&#39;s games, with companies operating under newly liberalized sponsorship rules - enacted after years of lobbying by athletes and their agents. </span></p><p><span id="articleText">Under Armour won&#39;t pay the USOC or the International Olympic Committee for such mind-blowing branding opportunities. The company is not an official sponsor of the games. That privilege costs brands such as Nike Inc NIKE.N, Visa Inc and McDonald&rsquo;s Corp tens of millions of dollars for explicit rights to use the rings, the word &ldquo;Olympics&rdquo; and other intellectual property.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">Sports agents and marketing executives told Reuters that Under Armour&#39;s campaign will be the best case study for the changes to so-called rule 40, which ends a marketing blackout during the games for companies who sponsor athletes rather than the event itself.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">Phelps, one of Under Armour&#39;s biggest bets, competes this week in the US swimming trials, where he aims to secure a spot in his fifth Olympics. He hopes to add to his total of 18 gold medals and 22 medals total, which already makes him the most decorated Olympian of all time. On Tuesday, Phelps posted the top time in the 200 meter butterfly heats, advancing to the semi-finals.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Beyond Phelps, Under Armour has backed a fleet of about 250 athletes </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> from the famous to the obscure </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> and plans a wide range of creative tactics to connect its brand to the Olympics. </span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The apparel company will, for instance, rent a series of outdoor gyms on a 50-mile stretch of beach in Rio to set up marketing outposts and host daily workouts for fans during the games. It will entertain VIP guests in a penthouse where they can mingle with its stable of athletes. </span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Official sponsors </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> worried the rule change could undermine their massive investments </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> will keep a keen eye out for potential infractions by other companies. John Lewicki, who oversees global Olympic sponsorship deals for McDonald&#39;s Corp, said his company will use these games to evaluate whether to continue future Olympic deals. &quot;I wouldn&#39;t necessarily say we&#39;re all happy about it,&quot; Lewicki said. &ldquo;If we find rule 40 impacts the value of our sponsorship, we could always go back and renegotiate for the future.&quot; </span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">McDonald&#39;s current deal, at a cost it declined to disclose, runs until after the 2020 summer games in Tokyo.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Lisa Baird, USOC&#39;s chief marketing officer said in a statement that &quot;the USOC relies on partner support and works very hard to protect their Olympic rights, but while doing so we also look to expand opportunities for Team USA athletes.&quot;</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The IOC said in a statement that it takes ambush marketing seriously and will protect its sponsors&#39; exclusive rights.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">&quot;If there is a concerted effort to create an unauthorized commercial association with the Olympic Games or the Olympic properties, then we will take swift action,&quot; the statement said.</span></p><p><strong><span id="articleText">Long lobbying campaign</span></strong></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Before the rule change, approved last summer at the IOC session in Malaysia, athletes had long argued they were deprived of commercial attention and income during their most marketable moments.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Peter Carlisle, who represents Phelps as an agent at Octagon, a unit of Interpublic Group, said the rule changes help famous athletes like his client. But more changes are needed from the IOC, he said, to help the masses of athletes.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Official sponsorship proceeds, in fact, are vital to less famous participants, whom the Olympic committees support with the money. The USOC&#39;s annual budget was US$247 million in 2012, the last summer Olympics year, and the cost of sending an individual athlete to the Games averages $40,000, the USOC said.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Companies sponsoring individual athletes or teams had to submit their plans months in advance to the USOC or other national committees to ensure the campaigns do not infringe on Olympics copyrights. Sports agents estimate that hundreds of brands applied for US waivers. The USOC declined to release the numbers of waivers requested or granted.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">To feasibly take advantage of rule 40, athletes would have had to find sponsors at least six months before the games to meet the deadlines for brands to submit waiver requests. Many Olympians are only finding out in the next few weeks whether they qualify for the games in trials happening all over the world.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">&ldquo;This is a change for the better, but it&#39;s nowhere near where we need to get,&rdquo; Carlisle said.</span></p><p><strong><span id="articleText">Branding free-for-all </span></strong></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Under Armour </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> along with dozens of other companies, including camera maker GoPro and beverage brands Red Bull and Gatorade, a unit of PepsiCo Inc </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> have already started flashy campaigns featuring Olympians. Each has sought approval to continue them during the games.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">In March, Under Armour released a commercial showing Phelps swimming to a song called &quot;The Last Goodbye,&quot; and then facing a flash of cameras.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">&ldquo;As long as you don&rsquo;t use Olympic intellectual property, like the rings or the word Olympic, you can make something that looks very beautiful,&quot; said Lowell Taub, head of sports endorsements at CAA Sports, an agency that works with Olympians such as gymnast Gabby Douglas.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">Under Armour&#39;s &quot;family&quot; includes other big name athletes who are expected to compete in Rio: Jordan Spieth in golf, Andy Murray in tennis and Kelley O&rsquo;Hara in soccer. It suffered a blow, however, when Steph Curry </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> one of its highest profile athletes and a star point guard for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> opted out of playing for the US basketball team in Rio so he could rest his injured knee.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">The USOC said it plans to police any marketing activity that could hurt their official sponsors&#39; investments, including on social media, but it declined to detail its enforcement plans. Nike, Under Armour&#39;s biggest competition in Rio, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The flood of new marketing during a three-week Olympics period is likely to pose steep enforcement challenges. Phelps&rsquo; agent, Carlisle, predicted there would be so many violations of rule 40 this summer </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> especially on social media </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> that &quot;it&#39;ll make your head spin.&quot;</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Brands are taking their own measures to protect their sponsorship rights. McDonald&#39;s said it plans to work with media monitoring agencies, and its own internal marketing teams will watch social media closely to evaluate the impact of the changes.</span></p><p><strong><span id="articleText">High stakes </span></strong></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">A source who has negotiated previous IOC sponsorship deals said that top global sponsors spend about $25 million per year for the rights, or about $100 million for four-year period that includes a summer and winter games.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The IOC hopes to double fees to $200 million per four year period starting in 2021, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. That could mean tough negotiations for the IOC with current sponsors. </span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Under Armour will likely spend considerably less. It has chosen instead to cut much less expensive deals to outfit the athletes in several national governing bodies, which are groups that oversee specific sports in various countries such as USA Gymnastics, USA Boxing, Rugby Canada and beach volleyball in Switzerland and the Netherlands.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The company does not disclose how much it invests in Olympics marketing, but it reported in a filing that its marketing costs rose by 14 percent </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> to $122.5 million from $107.6 million </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> during the first quarter ended March 31, compared to a year ago. The company attributed the increase to &quot;key marketing campaigns and investments in sponsorships&quot; in the filing, which covered the period when it unveiled Olympic-themed commercials.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Under Armour plenty of reasons to keep pushing hard at the Olympics, said Morningstar analyst Paul Swinand. Unlike Nike, only a small percentage its sales come from international markets, and it needs to catch up to rivals in India and China, he said.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">Peter Murray, vice president of sports marketing for Under Armour, didn&#39;t rule out becoming an official sponsor at some point. </span></p><p><span id="articleText">&quot;As we look to grow the brand and the business around the world outside the US, Olympics will continue to play a role in that,&rdquo; Murray said. &ldquo;We are really just getting started.&rdquo;</span></p> Wed, 29 Jun 2016 15:11:00 +0000 Reuters 2470728 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/06/29/505021/olympic_swimmer.jpg Telecom Egypt to receive second tranche of withheld dividends from Vodafone <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Telecom Egypt will receive a second tranche of withheld dividends from Vodafone Egypt amounting to 750 million Egyptian pounds ($84.46 million), a source from the Telecommunications Ministry said on Monday.<br /><br />The state-owned landline monopoly owns 45 percent of Vodafone Egypt, which had been withholding dividends since 2012 because of difficulties repatriating profits. In April it agreed to release at least 3.34 billion pounds in withheld dividends.<br /><br />Telecom Egypt was entitled to 1.5 billion pounds of those payments and the dividends were to be paid in two instalments in April and June.<br /><br />Vodafone&#39;s general assembly agreed to issue the dividends to shareholders on Sunday.<br /><br />&quot;The Vodafone General Assembly meeting decided yesterday to issue dividends to shareholders. Telecom Egypt&#39;s share of that will be 750 million pounds,&quot; the source said.</p> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:21:00 +0000 Reuters 2470661 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/05/09/504802/telecom_egypt.jpg Egypt central bank scraps CEO term limits plan after court ruling <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Egypt&#39;s central bank will not implement a nine-year term limit on bank CEOs that had angered major banks, central bank governor Tarek Amer told Reuters on Sunday, after a court suspended the decree.<br /><br />Amer set the limit in March, effectively calling time on eight of Egypt&#39;s bank bosses.<br /><br />Bankers described the decree as an overreach into the affairs of private sector companies whose managers are answerable to their shareholders. A court on Sunday suspended its implementation.<br /><br />Amer, who took office in November, told Reuters the central bank would accept the ruling and would not appeal.<br /><br />The bank, which has been grappling with an acute shortage of foreign currency and seeking to limit speculation against the Egyptian pound, said at the time it wanted to help modernise the sector and &quot;inject new blood&quot;.<br /><br />Atef al-Sharif, a lawyer representing Mohamed Sayyed Shaaban, a shareholder in Egypt&#39;s largest-listed bank, CIB , said the central bank had exceeded its mandate.<br /><br />&quot;The central bank only has the right to supervise banking sector units, not to interfere in their internal affairs and impose restrictions on their management,&quot; he told Reuters.</p> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:04:00 +0000 Reuters 2470660 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/02/28/94/central_bank_of_egypt_cbe_governor_tarek_amer.jpg Adios, Three Amigos: Obama heads to last summit with Canada, Mexico <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText"><span class="focusParagraph">President Barack Obama will meet with leaders of Canada and Mexico on Wednesday for his final &quot;Three Amigos&quot; summit, a meeting that may signal how keen the North American partners are to tout trade at a time of rising protectionist sentiment.</span></span></p><p><span id="articleText">The Ottawa summit comes on the heels of Britain voting to leave the European Union after more than 40 years. It also falls ahead of a US presidential election on November 8 where presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump has made stagnant wages and US manufacturing job losses focal points of his insurgent campaign.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">The Brexit vote is bound to be an important theme for Obama&#39;s meetings with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canada&#39;s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">Canada had negotiated a trade deal with the EU that is slated to take effect next year. The Brexit could delay ratification, and hurt Canada&#39;s commodity-driven economy.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">The referendum results are also a setback to talks on a US-EU trade deal. Mexico, which has a trade deal with the EU, has already prepared a draft proposal for one with the United Kingdom.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">At the summit, leaders will also look at how best to foster trade with each other, said Mexico&#39;s Finance Minister Luis Videgaray.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">&quot;One of the important issues, without doubt, is how to give a fresh impulse and greater value to North American integration,&quot; Videgaray said.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">All three are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation trade deal that Obama had cast as an update of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He wants to finalize the TPP as part of his economic legacy in Asia.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The TPP has become a target of both the left and the right in the US election, and Congress has been unenthusiastic about ratifying it thus far.</span></p><p><strong><span id="articleText">Last chance with Obama</span></strong></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The United States is the top export market for both Canada and Mexico. In 2015, US trade with Canada totaled US$663 billion and Mexico $584 billion.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">But even in Canada, only one in four people say the 22-year-old NAFTA deal is good for the country, a poll released on Monday found.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The long-running Canada-US battle over softwood lumber seems more likely than not to resume as early as October.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Given all the controversy over trade, the leaders may decide to try to focus their summit talking points on other topics.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">&quot;I expect them to try and stay away from it,&quot; said Carlo Dade, director of the Canada West Foundation&#39;s Center for Trade and Investment Policy.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">For Trudeau and Pena Nieto, the summit is one last chance to make progress on lingering agenda items before Obama leaves the White House next January.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The leaders are expected to discuss climate change and clean energy cooperation, areas of mutual interest and themes that may be central in Obama&#39;s address to the Canadian Parliament later on Wednesday.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">The three nations also plan to unveil a plan to fight heroin production.</span></p><p><strong><span id="articleText">Trump question inevitable </span></strong></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">At a joint press conference, the leaders are likely to field questions about the upcoming US election and its implications for both Canada and Mexico.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">It will also be Obama&#39;s first chance on an international stage to promote his recent endorsement of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">In March, Pena Nieto roundly condemned Trump, who has promised to build a wall on the US border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs, and has complained about what he calls unfair trade. Mexico also named a new ambassador to aggressively promote its contributions to the US economy.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">So far, Trump has been mostly silent on Canada. &quot;That doesn&#39;t mean Canadians don&#39;t feel the sting&quot; of his protectionist ideas, said Chris Sands, director of the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University&#39;s School of Advanced International Studies.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">Trudeau is likely to tread carefully so as to not endanger relations with a potential president.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">&quot;It&#39;s unlikely there will be any formal discussion of Trump, who of course is the elephant in the room. In some ways it&#39;s better if there isn&#39;t,&quot; said one official involved in the summit.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">&quot;The message the leaders will be sending is eloquent enough </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> the three nations are closely integrated and cooperate well and that&#39;s how the relationship should work,&quot; the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">On trade, Pena Nieto and Trudeau are also cognizant that talk is cheap on the campaign trail.</span></p><p style="display: table;"><span id="articleText">&quot;I have to tell my Canadian friends this often </span>&mdash;<span id="articleText"> it doesn&#39;t mean it will be the agenda once you get to the White House,&quot; said David Wilkins, the US ambassador to Canada from 2005 to 2009 during the George W. Bush administration.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">Obama provides a good case in point. In his 2008 campaign, he demonized NAFTA, but once in office he began working on the TPP, a deal he has said would fix his concerns about NAFTA.</span></p><p><span id="articleText">&quot;There&#39;s very much a &#39;Keep calm and carry on&#39; approach and we&#39;re going to ignore some of the domestic politicking and see what happens when it happens,&quot; said a Canadian source familiar with the summit talks.</span></p> Mon, 27 Jun 2016 10:35:00 +0000 Reuters 2470658 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/04/08/504802/mexico.jpg