CGF: Longines partnership to pave way for more multi-games deals
By Euan Cunningham
Swiss watch manufacturer Longines' historic multi-games agreement with the Commonwealth Games Federation will be the catalyst for long-term deals, CGF president David Grevemberg told Sportcal today.
Grevemberg also indicated that the CGF would now be working on taking this same approach with broadcast deals, with the Longines agreement representing the first ever multi-games partnership signed by the CGF.
The deal, signed today at a ceremony in Birmingham, UK, where the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held, will last until after the 2030 edition, with Longines becoming the official partner and timekeeper of the 2022, 2026 and 2030 Commonwealth Games', as well as an inaugural partner of the Commonwealth Sport Movement.
The Longines deal was struck by CGF Partnerships, a joint venture between the CGF and Lagardère Sports, the international sports marketing agency.
Grevemberg, in an interview with Sportcal today, said that the multi-games nature of the deal “made sense, especially in terms of our long-term sustainability and objectives.”
He added: “It gives Longines a legitimacy of service, and it makes sense to tie down suppliers for the long term in areas which we’re always going to need them for, like timekeeping.
“That’s not an area we want to compromise in, with our history and heritage… Hence we’ve set the bar very high here, bringing Longines on board.”
Grevemberg also confirmed that this long-term approach would not just be restricted to major sponsorships, and said: “We’re looking at a similar approach for broadcasting, in terms of that multi-games relationship.
“The deal with Sky in New Zealand is the benchmark for what we want to achieve in that field.”
In November, Sky NZ acquired exclusive rights to the next two editions of the Commonwealth Games. Sky will be able to show the action live, delayed, via catch-up and on demand, including highlights and clips. There will be extensive free-to-air coverage on the Prime channel.
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, has been strongly linked with a bid for the 2026 games, as has Calgary in Canada. India and Malaysia are other potential host countries.
In terms of the impact the Longines partnership would have on potential other sponsors, Grevemberg was positive on how “Longines coming on board will legitimise the games from the viewpoint of other brands, which is what we saw in Glasgow [in 2014].”
He added: “I think we’re going to see a multitude of other sponsors want to come on board now for Commonwealth sports events as a whole… This is the first long-term partnership, there are hopefully many more to come.”
Longines originally partnered with the CGF for the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, and was also a partner for the 2014 and 2018 games, in Glasgow and the Gold Coast, respectively.
So far, Birmingham 2022 has only signed local sponsorship partnerships, with more than two years still to go before those games start on 27 July.
However, Grevemberg said he expected this deal to pave the way for the federation to sign several other long-term deals in the near future.
He said: “We’ll be looking to get in as many multi-games sponsors as we can… Part of our strategy is now to sign up as many sponsors for the longer-term as we can.”
“We need to move with the times.”
In addition to the overall CGF partnership, Longines will also be the presenting partner for all the rugby sevens, table tennis, gymnastics and athletics events at the next three tournaments. Grevemberg confirmed these sports had been specifically asked for by the watch-maker.
He said: “It will give Longines additional rights to those sports… We will sign presenting deals for other events and sports, but these ones were specifically requested by them.”
While the hosts for 2026 and 2030 have not yet been voted on, Grevemberg is confident that having this multi-games partnership already in place will make hosting the games a more attractive proposition, and that it will “add credibility to our offering… and help our offer to future hosts and other sponsors become more compelling.
“Having this level of certainty with any specific supplier will give a new level of confidence for any potential hosts, there’s now a lower risk in terms of timekeeping, which is a crucial area.”
With the Longines deal being a product of the new CGF Partnerships venture, and the involvement of Lagardère Sports, Grevemberg paid tribute to the work being done on that front, and said: “They’re now embedded in each organising committee, they’re part of our new model, they allow us to scope and scale all our partnerships for each specific games.
“It’s a real catalyst, having this new model, as we can learn from games to games, and then work on reducing costs and maximising value if necessary.”
He added: “As the CGF brand continues to grow, we’re going to hopefully see its sponsorship value not limited simply to a single games, but over much more of a long-term relationship.”