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October 2007 Newsletter

Welcome to the Design for Sport newsletter. We hope you enjoy it and feel able to contribute to future editions - our aim is to showcase the role of innovation and great design.


Sportswear manufacturers and retailers have woken up with a hangover following England's failure to qualify for the Euro 2008 football championships. England's kit manufacturer Umbro warned in a statement to the Stock Exchange that it expects a "substantial reduction" in sales of England shirts. The retailer Sports Direct said it was no longer confident its profits this year would beat last year's level. Shares in both companies fell in early trading in London. Sports Direct shares fell 18.2% while Umbro shares were down 2.6%. Other shares also suffered, with retailer JJB Sports falling 8.6%.

Source: BBC

Research and Development

Virtual reality has become a dirty word in technology. The VR hype that promised immersive training environments proved to be just hot air and the early adopters were let down by poor graphic rendering and clunky interfaces. However recent developments have moved things along. This article has an interesting take on what may be the future - and there are interesting opportunities for sports too. Skiing has always been a classically difficult environment to recreate; with the result that almost all training takes place on the slopes, with a high risk of injury and disappointment. A realistic, but inexpensive virtual environment could allow initial training to start before the season kicks off. We have some experience in this field, so if this hits a nerve, drop us a line.

Green Sport

Not strictly about green sport, but the backlash had to happen. A Businessweek article charts the progress towards the inevitable conclusion that much green design is actually marketing led and myopic. In fact, in the sporting arena, performance counts for everything - hence the derision heaped upon Honda's F1 Earth Car concept. The idea that an F1 team cares about preserving the earth above winning races was seen as overtly cynical. We think it was a brave attempt to move the sponsorship model forward and certainly created a talking point.

Olympic News

DHL is reportedly seeking a deal with the International Olympic Committee to become a global Top Level sponsor and the official logistics partner for the 2010 and 2012 Olympics.

According to Brand, the company wants to sign on for the Vancouver Winter Games and London Summer Games, joining McDonald's, Visa, Coca-Cola, Panasonic, Samsung, Omega, GE and Atos Origin as Top Sponsors.

In June DHL agreed a three-year sponsorship of the Special Olympics, which covered this year’s event in China and the 2009 Winter Games in the United States

Source: Sportsbusiness


The exploits of both the English rugby team in the Rugby World Cup final and Lewis Hamilton at the Brazilian grand prix gripped UK television viewers even though both events ended in disappointment. For ITV, the weekend was a massive success. It is thought that the two events alone brought in £16 million of advertising revenue.

The rugby final is estimated to have brought in £11 million from advertising as advertisers clamoured to get their brand in front of one of the biggest television audiences of the year. The average audience for England’s defeat to South Africa was 14.9 million. During the first half, the audience steadily built from 13.6 million at kick off to just over 15 million at halftime. Around 2.7 million viewers switched channel at the half time interval.

The audience in the second half barely fluctuated, hovering around the 15.6 million mark, even though it looked more and more likely that England would lose the match. The only deviations were in the first five minutes of the second half, when Mark Cueto’s disallowed try attracted 15.7 million, and in the last five minutes as 16.1 million watched in hope that England could snatch victory.

The Formula One race is estimated to have brought in £5 million from advertising. The race attracted 9.1 million overall. The audience built steadily throughout the duration of the race even though it became increasingly obvious that Hamilton would lose the title to Kimi Raikkonnen, with the audience dropping slightly when advert breaks interrupted coverage. The audience for the first lap was 7.9 million and 10.6 million for the final lap, the peak audience for the race. Audiences for a sports event broadcast in the afternoon/early evening generally build up throughout the event as people come in from their days out.

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