Wanda's Sunseeker brand to get exposure at World Cup
Sunseeker International, the UK-based luxury yacht brand, will have a commercial presence at this year’s Fifa World Cup in Russia, it has been announced.
The tie-up, which was revealed yesterday at the London Boat Show, represents an expansion of a deal with the company's owner Dalian Wanda, the Chinese multinational conglomerate, which signed up as a top-tier Fifa partner in 2016, in a long-term commitment that runs to the 2030 World Cup.
Sunseeker will leverage major marketing and branding rights and offer clients access to ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experiences at the 2018 tournament from 14 June to 15 July, the company said.
Wanda acquired Sunseeker in 2013 in a deal worth £320 million (now $437 million) and this week’s announcement would appear to scotch, at least for the time being, a recent report that it is looking to sell the subsidiary.
Phil Popham, the chief executive of Sunseeker, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with the FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Wanda partnership has provided Sunseeker with access to the largest sporting event on the planet which is just incredible.
“This is not only the most prestigious marketing initiative for Sunseeker but for the marine industry as a whole and it will allow us to create some fantastic experiences for our clients as well as giving unprecedented exposure to the Sunseeker brand.”
Last week, Popham denied claims that Wanda was seeking a buyer for Sunseeker, whose yachts have featured in James Bond movies, saying that, under the Chinese ownership, the company had achieved a profit of £6 million in 2016, having been £30 million in the red in the previous year.
Popham added that Wanda was fully committed to supporting Sunseeker’s future growth, but that discussions were taking place with suitable strategic partners that could aid future development objectives.
The claims of a potential sale were made in a Reuters report which suggested that Wanda was considering listing its sports unit, which includes the Infront sports marketing agency and World Triathlon Corporation, the owner and organiser of the Ironman series, on the Hong Kong stock exchange, and selling some overseas assets.