Hi, my company recently sponsored a sporting event. The World Pole Sports Championships. A host of things have happened - we were provided with the wrong technical information by the International Pole Sports Federation (We recenttly found out that the federation is not professional, has no technical experience and is run by some mothers from home). We custom made competition poles for a championship to the IPSF agreed criteria. They publicly blamed us for providing 'un-safe' equipment, when in fact the event was poorly organised and they did not have safe rigging equipment. They would not release a joint a statement and made us a scape goat. We are a new company and tried to fix the situation by employing a public affairs person to which the IPSF told them to go away. To fix our image of 'un-safe poles' the IPSF gave us a month to make new equipment with some testing procedures, which we thought were tried and proven. Three weeks of research and wasted time and rushed new equipment were made to finally reach the conclusion that the tests to complete that do not currently exist. Even TUV, Brittania or the leading testing agencies in the UK do not have this equipment. We wasted $25,000 US developing the equipment, looking for the tests, and when we asked them to talk to a professional testing agency about the tests, they cancelled our sponsorship and have publicly caused us issues by making it look like we can't produce safe equipment for the championships. Because we challenged them, they have not promoted us and they have now banned us from attending the event that we paid to sponsor. They will not give us back our sponsorship money and have hurt our brand. What can I do?
Hello, thanks for your question. My name is ***** ***** I can assist with this.
Great, what are your thoughts? How can I get my sponsorship money back?
They've ruined our brand before we've even launched because they don't have some one with technical experience on their committee. They don't understand how expensive it is to design, manufacture and transport the equipment.
If they've lied about the state of your poles, and there is no safety issue etc, (which is that you're saying) then you may be able to sue them (a) for breach of contract (as I expect it would be a breach for failing to promote the brand and equally, to damage it), and (b) for defamation (by damaging the brand).
Obviously, they need to be in the wrong, and it will be crucial that your poles are safe and that there was nothing as they described wrong with them.
Ok. but suing is an expensive, long process. Do you know if there an ombudsman or some one for sporting associations that can mediate? I want our sponsorship money back and would prefer to have mediation with them.
Mediation is a private process, and one that can be undertaken, but both parties have to consent for that to happen.
I'm not aware of a sporting association that will resolve this for you and there is no entitlement to expect anybody else to resolve this (other than the Court) unless you put this in the agreement itself.
OK- what a pain. Wish I had never got involved.
It can feel like that sometimes. You could try arbitration, again, you both need to agree, but it's like a private court system, whereby you can keep things confidential and have a formal binding resolution by an arbitrator (or private judge).
But unless you get consent from the other side to do this, you're stuck with negotiation (again, requires consent in a sense) or your only other option is the court.