Kissimmee might pull West Ham sponsorship amid Kurt Zouma cat-kicking outrage

Kurt Zuoma
By Linsey McNeill
Home » Kissimmee might pull West Ham sponsorship amid Kurt Zouma cat-kicking outrage

Florida marketing organisation Experience Kissimmee says it is re-evaluating its long-running sponsorship of West Ham United after the football club’s decision to include Kurt Zouma in last night’s match.

Experience Kissimmee has sponsored West Ham since August 2016, initially for a three-year period but this was extended in 2019 for a further three years until August 2022.

At the time it signed the deal, it was the first of its kind between a Premiership football club and a US destination marketing organisation.

Experience Kissimmee President DT Minich said the destination had chosen to sponsor West Ham because it would ‘put the Kissimmee brand in front of sold-out crowds in the heart of one of our most important travel markets’.

According to a study by the club, Hammer fans are more likely to travel to the US than the UK average population. It said the majority of its fans were families, ‘who may prefer a Florida family’.

But many of those fans were appalled last night when West Ham Manager David Moyes (pictured above) chose to play defender Kurt Zouma in a match against Watford just hours after a video had circulated showing him dropping, kicking and slapping his pet cat.

More than 100k people have signed a petition for the football star to be prosecuted and for his pets to be taken from him.

Both Hammers and Watford fans booed at Zouma and the away fans shouted ‘that’s how your cat felt’ when the French international hit the ground after a challenge. Other chants including ‘RSPCA, RSPCA’.

West Ham chose to play Zouma despite saying publicly that it ‘unreservedly’ condemned his actions.

As the club’s official destination partner, Experience Kissimmee support events such as its family fun day and its half-time match day entertainment.

Kurt Zouma

In 2019, Mr Minich of Experience Kissimmee said: “West Ham United will now boast the highest number of season ticket holders in London and the highest percentage of season ticket holders in the entire Premier League, which is the most followed league in the world with a cumulative worldwide in-home TV audience of more than three billion,” added Minich. “The club also has an enormous social following – approximately two million global fans on Facebook, nearly one million Twitter followers and almost four million views on YouTube – which gives us another avenue for reaching potential visitors.”

West Ham United’s Vice-Chairman Karren Brady, who also stars on The Apprentice TV programme, described the Experience Kissimmee sponsorship as ‘a fantastic opportunity for our fans to take advantage of excellent deals to visit a beautiful part of the world’.

But last night, Experience Kissimmee said it was ‘disheartened’ that Zouma was part of the starting line, adding: “As we wait for further information from WHU, we will be evaluating our relationship and sponsorship with the club.”

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