independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Zoopla aren’t the first sponsors to pull the plug after sporting controversy

Nicolas Anelka's gesture after his goal against West Ham has caused controversy
Nicolas Anelka's gesture after his goal against West Ham has caused controversy

Zoopla announced on Monday that it will not seek to renew its sponsorship of West Brom at the end of the season in light of Nicolas Anelka's controversial 'quenelle' gesture.

The property website, which is co-owned by a Jewish businessman, was unhappy at the continuing presence of Anelka in the team while his actions were investigated by the Football Association.

Here are other examples of unhappy sponsors who have pulled the plug on deals because they thought their brand was being damaged.

LANCE ARMSTRONG

Cyclist Lance Armstrong lost a whole raft of sponsors after he was exposed as a drugs cheat. Nike terminated its 16-year association with the shamed cyclist and a number of others followed suit. Brewer Anheuser-Busch opted against renewing its contract with Armstrong. Wisconsin based Trek-Bicycle Corp severed its contract with him. Armstrong's helmet sponsor Giro pulled its deal with the American, as did Oakley, who produced his sunglasses. Honey Stinger, a honey-based nutrition goods company, removed Armstrong's image from all of its product packaging and a chain of gyms also removed Armstrong's name from its logo.

ASAFA POWELL

Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning suspended its sponsorship of Asafa Powell after the Jamaican sprinter returned a positive doping test. Powell tested positive for oxilofrine - a stimulant used to boost the body's ability to burn fat - in June 2012. The former 100 metre world record holder blamed trainer Chris Xuereb for supplying the drug, although he denied he was culpable. Li-Ning has vowed to cancel their contract with Powell if he is banned at a hearing in February.

TIGER WOODS

Tiger Woods lost more than his marriage to Elin Nordegren after revelations about his infidelity emerged towards the end of 2009. Accenture, a global consulting firm, was the first sponsor to sever ties with Woods. Telecommunications giant AT&T also ended their association with Woods. Tag Heuer, Proctor and Gamble and Gatorade also decided against renewing their deals with the star, although the latter claimed the move had nothing to do with Woods' affairs.

STEPHANIE RICE

Stephanie Rice was on top of the world when she won three gold medals at Beijing 2008, but two years later she made a teary apology in front of the media following a homophobic tweet. Jaguar terminated its sponsorship deal with the Australian swimmer and demanded she return the £55,000 Jaguar XF which was given to her free as part of the contract.

OSCAR PISTORIUS

Pistorius' profile reached its peak around the London Paralympics, but his sponsors started to distance themselves from the double-amputee after he was charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day 2013. Nike and Oakley suspended their contracts with the 'Blade Runner'. Fashion house Thierry Mugler, which chose Mr Pistorius as the face of its A*Men fragrance, withdrew all its campaigns featuring the athlete, as did another backer, M-Net Movies. Pistorius will stand trial for the shooting of Steenkamp in March. Pistorius denies the charge.

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