Ülker sponsorship opens the doorway to becoming a global brand name

Ülker became a global player with the purchase of Godiva, but its sponsorship of one of Europe’s largest basketball organizations, the ULEB Cup has put it one step closer to the big leagues.

When the Belgian chocolate brand name Godiva was purchased, it was a big step into the global arena for the Ülker Group.  A further step was taken onto the world stage with the company’s first global sponsorship of one of the largest basketball organizations in Europe, the ULEB Cup. Commenting on Ülker’s role as an official sponsor of the final eight, Corporate Communications Director Zuhal Şeker said, “the purpose of sponsorships is o create an emotional tie between the sponsoring brand name and the consumer.  Ülker provides financial resources 38 million dollars for football and basketball in Turkey. These investments in sports have made Ülker the “2nd most readily recallable brand” in Turkey and Ülker’s brand, Cola Turka, the “2nd most readily recalled brand” in its own category in Turkey.

Ülker’s rank as a global sponsor of the ULEB Cup finals began in the Italian city of Torino.  The 2007-2008 ULEB Cup was televised to 423.5 million viewers in 74 countries.  54 teams from 25 countries competed in the cup finals, and two Turkish teams, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş managed to advance into the final 8. After Galatasaray’s fourth place finish in the finals at Torino Şeker made an announcement and explained the goals that Ülker wants to achieve through its sponsorship.  

Şeker explained that the goal of sponsorship is to establish an emotional connection with consumers. The Ülker Group of Companies has been making investments in the global marketing platform of sports for many years in order to reach more consumers and reinforce the image and perception of its brand names.

We set an example for all countries of the Euroleague

Zuhal Şeker Ülker, talked about the support that is provided to Beşiktaş Cola Turka, Fenerbahçe Ülker, Galatasaray Café Crown and the promising Alpella team of up and coming young players.  She added that besides its sponsorship of the National Team in cooperation with the Turkish Football Federation, Ülker has expanded its sponsorship of football to include the National Women’s National A Team and has signed a far-reaching agreement with all of the national football teams. Şeker stated that the company’s financial support for Turkish sport that Ülker provides is 38 million dollars annually and continued by saying “Our Company has a lot of experience in basketball.  We wanted to offer Ülkerspor’s experience as a resource to the clubs. We have signed 5-year sponsorship agreements with each of the clubs. When we started sponsoring basketball, the game began to be more industrialized. Clubs are now able to make better transfers more easily. The enjoyment of the game has intensified, the content of the League has been enriched and broadcasters have been showing more interest in televising games. For example, Beko purchased the right to add their name to our league for 4 years. NTV purchased the broadcasting rights for three years. Basketball has been transformed to become an obvious framework for investment. The average number of spectators per game in the 2006-2007 season was 10,000. Newspapers have increased the number of pages they devote to news about basketball.  We conducted basket-shooting events at Fenerbahçe Ülker's Euroleague matches. The Euroleague Marketing Department held up the event as an example for other countries.”

The news is unfounded, we don’t meddle with transfers

Şeker explained that, under the 5-year agreements, 38 million dollars in financial resources will be divided equally between football and basketball and that the budgeted amount given to the clubs will be locked in for five years. A headline that recently appeared in newspapers which read ‘'Fenerbahçe will buy Barcelona player Samuel Eto with Ülker’s support’ is entirely unfounded,” she said. "The clubs are free to make their own decisions about the use of these resources for football or basketball. We will not provide any extra financial resources.”   

Şeker also added, “Incidentally, Ülker will not only give support to professional football, but will also throw its support into the infrastructure of the game. We are implementing a project called ‘Grassroots’ (football for everyone) which will provide sport-oriented social activities designed to promote a love of the sport in people of all ages.”

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