Ülker: We threw our support behind three big teams and created the basketball industry

Ülker supported the Riva Dream Village Festival, which hosted 200 boys and girls aged from 10 to 12, from Germany, Romania, Ukraine, Macedonia, Northern Cyprus and Russia.

By expanding its investments in basketball to include sponsorship of the three main clubs, Ülker has transformed basketball into a field for investment in Turkey, says Ülker Corporate Communications Director Zuhal Şeker.  'The quality of the league has improved and average game attendance has reached 10,000. Interest in the company has grown’, she said.

Ülker Corporate Communications Director Zuhal Şeker indicated that Ülker spends 38 million dollars annually to support football and basketball in Turkey and went on to point out that, as a result of the company’s support of sports, the 2nd most recognizable brand name in Turkey is Ülker and Cola Turka is the 2nd most recognizable brand in its own category.  

The Ülker Group of Companies important marketing platform utilizes the drawing power of sports, in which Ülker has invested for many years, to create an emotional bond between the brand names and their target consumer group and to reinforce the image and perception of its brands.  

'We donate 38 million dollars a year'

Besides its support of the top four football clubs in Turkey Ülker also sponsors our three largest basketball teams. With the establishment of Ülkerspor in 1975, Ülker began its long tradition of providing sports opportunities for young people, and eventually expanded the company’s support to today’s proportions, said Şeker.

Zuhal Şeker also explained that Ülker's support of Beşiktaş Cola Turka, Fenerbahçe Ülker, Galatasaray Café Crown and the up and coming young Alpella team, is accompanied, in large part, by activities to get children and young people to become involved in basketball.

Şeker stated, "Our Company has a lot of experience in basketball.  We didn’t want to waste that experience so we are offering it as a resource to the clubs.

We have reached 5-year sponsorship agreements with each of the clubs. When we started our support of basketball, it began to be more industrialized. Clubs are now able to make good transfers more easily. The enjoyment has multiplied and the content of the League has been enriched. A lot more interest in televised games was generated.

For example: Beko paid 10 million dollars to add its name to the league for 4 years. NTV has purchased our broadcasting rights for a three-year period. Basketball has been transformed into a field for investment. The 2006-2007 season drew an average of 10,000 spectators per game. Newspapers have begun to devote more of their publications 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.” Besides her statements about Ülker’s financial support of basketball and the values that it represents, in conclusion, Şeker also announced Ülker’s expansion of its support for football.  Turkish Football Federation and Ülker have reached a cooperative agreement with all of the national football teams from the National A Team right up to the National Women’s Team, stated Şeker and also reiterated that Ülker provides 38 million dollars in financial support for Turkish sports every year.

'We have no interest in Eto’

Şeker also had this information about the company’s sponsorships:  "We have appropriated our 38 million dollars in financial resources equally between football and basketball.   Apart from clubs in the Turkish Football Federation, BJK will wear advertisements for Cola Turks on the fronts of their jerseys, and the uniforms of Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Trabzon will have advertisements for Cola Turka on the sleeves.

Indicating that the budgeted amount given to these clubs will be locked in for five years, Zuhal Şeker 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.” “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.

'Football for everyone’

Şeker said, “We are implementing a project called ‘Grassroots’ (football for everyone) which will provide sport-oriented social activities designed to promote a love of sport in people of all ages.  The project is structured to foster children’s participation in sports, not only as spectators, but in active ways that will allow each child to develop as a potential sports candidate and teach them the principles of friendly competition in a sport setting.”
According to the information provided, the first project, Ülker Mini Football Festival, was held between June 24 – July 1.  The project is a cooperative effort of the Turkish Football Federation and Ülker.  The festival welcomed 500 children from Turkey’s 81 different provinces.  They received football training as well as instruction in personal hygiene and environmental awareness, in cooperation with TEMA, at the Van Football Village.

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