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Brand Engagement, Growth | May 11, 2014
The new-look United World Wrestling

Following a turbulent period in its history, headlined by a dice with Olympic death, wrestling’s world governing body is embarking on a new era complete with a fresh name, logo and visual identity.

Under the guidance of president Nenad Lalovic, the new-look United World Wrestling is seeking to ensure its troubles of 2013 are never repeated.

“We had to turn the page and we have successfully done so in a constructive manner,” Lalovic told SportBusiness International. “We believe the renaming of the federation is a positive, proactive approach for the future development of wrestling.

“United World Wrestling is also a more dynamic and commercially attractive name as it can be globally understood. Before, the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles, or FILA, was something that nobody could relate to or associate with, except maybe the wrestlers. The new name provides clarity – what we do, when we do, how we do.”

Lalovic had been working alongside branding agency Olive Grove to help develop the new brand, which was ultimately rubber-stamped at September’s FILA Congress.

The first fruits of Lalovic’s labours were realised just days after September’s ratification of United World Wrestling.

Chinese sports equipment manufacturer Taishan signed up as a sponsor, partnering through to 2020. Lalovic hailed the broader nature of the tie-up, stating that Taishan first approached the federation after the IOC announcement in February 2013, and adds that talks are currently ongoing to build on this deal.

“The relationship with Taishan is quite specific,” Lalovic says. “First of all, we have to be attentive to the Chinese market. There is a huge Chinese population who practice our sport and we want to develop this further.

“Apart from the commercial side of the partnership, Taishan is working with us to develop United World Wrestling training facilities in China.

“We then hope to sign other sponsors to fill specific categories and plan to sign additional partnerships in the coming months. Currently, we are negotiating with sports equipment companies and a car manufacturer.

“We are also negotiating with companies to fill the nutritional supplements category, but we have to be extremely cautious that any deal we sign will not infringe the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) Code.”

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