TAG Heuer's CBA sponsorship terminated

Updated: 2015-11-11 16:26

By Sun Xiaochen(chinadaily.com.cn)

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High-end Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer announced today that it was forced to terminate its sponsorship as the official timekeeper of the Chinese Basketball Association just three weeks after inking the deal in Beijing.

The company cited a unilateral breach of contract by Infront China, the league's exclusive marketing agent, but did not disclose the underlying reasons for the termination.

Infront China did not immediately respond to TAG Heuer's charges today or make any comment about the situation.

The watch brand had announced at an Oct 21 news conference that it would become CBA's official partner in 2017 and unveiled its promotion campaign under the slogan "Don't Crack under Pressure".

However, shortly after the contract was signed, after a year-long negotiation, Infront China sought to terminate the agreement without just cause, TAG Heuer said in a statement.

"Infront China's practice has violated the law and business ethics and damaged TAG Heuer's brand image. We deeply regret this issue. We continue to offer our sincere best wishes to the China Basketball Association and the CBA league matches and will continue to support the development of basketball in China," said Leo Poon, TAG Heuer's China brand director.

TAG Heuer has filed a complaint with the People's Court of Beijing Chaoyang District against Infront, in order to protect its brand's rights and interests.

Chinese media reports suggested Infront China canceled the contract to protect an existing exclusive partnership between Tissot, another watch brand, and Infront China's Swiss parent company Infront Sports & Media.

Poon said TAG Heuer wasn't aware of any deal with another watch brand, but even if there was one, it shouldn't affect the partnership TAG Heuer signed with CBA, "as Infront China represents the league as its exclusive marketing partner, not its parent company in Switzerland," he said.

TAG Heuer will actively participate in youth talent training programs and collaborate with basketball and public institutions in China to support basketball education, popularization and promotion, Poon said.