Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On business risk - when a Dubai investment runs afoul of the Tennis Channel

Tom Hoffarth linked to a New York Times article. Here's how the story begins:

The Tennis Channel will not televise the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships this week to protest the United Arab Emirates’ refusal to grant an entry visa to the Israeli player Shahar Peer.

Quick quiz - what's the first company name, after the Tennis Channel, that you see in connection with this event?

That's right - Barclays. Things seemed so much better for Barclays a few days ago:

Barclays Bank is entering its second year of title sponsorship for the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships (BDTC), an event that is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and draws over 125,000 spectators and half a billion TV viewers from around the world each year.

With the fantastic line-up of all of the top ten female tennis players, this year’s tournament is anticipated to attract additional interest from local and international tennis fans. Furthermore, seven of the top ten male players will be participating. The all-star tennis cast will include last year’s defending champions Andy Roddick and Elena Dementieva, as well as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and both the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena.

However, any mention of Shahar Peer over the next few days will probably include the word "Barclays." Which may not be good press for Barclays. Look at what Israel Newsletter wrote:

If it’s a basic question of right versus wrong for the Tennis channel, than what about for Barclays? Do they sanction these steps? Do they believe that an Israeli tennis player, should be discriminated against because of her religion? Why are they continuing on with their corporate sponsorship?

Then again, perhaps Barclays will be helped in some circles. Marco Villa obviously approves of Shahar Peer's banning:

Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer was recently denied permission to land in Dubai and compete in the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. Poor her, she probably trains on some stolen piece of Palestinian land....

The New York Times and Shahar Peer both weep at the denial of any Israel to compete in just one tournament. But does the Times and this self-entitled tennis player have any sympathy for those Palestinians denied to play in any tournament by Israel? Where is the Times’ self-righteous indignation for those Palestinians denied permission to leave the West Bank to they can compete? Zionist fanatics even launched an effort to prohibit the Palestinians from marching in the Olympics under their flag.
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