SBD/Issue 88/Sponsorships, Advertising & MarketingPrint All
Nike's new Air Jordan XVII sneakers, which hit stores next month, "are Nike's highest-priced [sneaker] ever," as they will sell for $200, according to Paul Tharp of the N.Y. POST. The sneakers "are sold in a sleek metallic briefcase, an homage to Jordan's executive skills in reaping millions on his endorsements." The sneakers also come "with a full-length CD-ROM showing behind-the-scenes footage of how the shoe was developed." Meanwhile, Nike execs said that "in the three months since Jordan's comeback, Nike's worldwide sneaker sales rose 4[%] to $2.3[B]" (N.Y. POST, 1/23). ADWEEK reports that Wieden & Kennedy, N.Y., will unveil a new ad campaign, directed by Spike Lee, to introduce Nike's Air Jordan XVII. The three-spot campaign, which breaks January 27 during the NFC Championship on Fox, stars Bucks G Ray Allen, Clippers F Darius Miles and Clippers G Quentin Richardson (ADWEEK, 1/21 issue).
WALKING DOWNHILL: According to a National Sporting Goods Association market survey, the average price paid for all 24 categories of sport and athletic footwear in '01 was $40.17, a drop of less than 1% from the '00 average of $40.32. The average price of basketball shoes fell 3.9% to $54.92; cross training, 2.6% to $47.01 (NSGA).
David Beckham is negotiating a new contract with Manchester United, and reports suggest he has been offered US$100,000 a week, and another US$28,600 a week "for rights to use his image," according to Matthew Garrahan of the FINANCIAL TIMES, who called Beckham "one of a few players to transcend football and achieve popularity among non-fans as well as die-hard followers of the sport." The inclusion of image rights in players' contracts is not new, as Jon Smith, CEO of player agency First Artist, said, "It all started as a way of avoiding tax. Foreign players would come to the UK from regimes where image rights are not subject to the same sort of tax conditions, and ask for separate payments for use of their image." Garrahan adds, "What has changed recently is the importance with which players and clubs now view the question of image rights." HammondSuddardsEdge attorney Parul Patel said that changes to transfer regulations will soon "lead to clubs becoming more keen to generate the best value from their investments." Garrahan: "Hence the need to exploit star players' images and extract a good return from them. Luis Figo's [US$54.3M] move last year from Barcelona to Real Madrid is thought to have contained a provision giving Real a percentage of all his off-field earnings. This offers the club a way of recouping some of its investment" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/22).
STILL ON TRACK? While Kmart, which sponsors Haas-Carter Motorsports' two Winston Cup teams, filed for Chapter 11 yesterday, team Owner Travis Carter is "cautiously optimistic" about the future of his team. Carter said that Kmart "was on schedule with their sponsorship dues at present, and that the company has informed him to continue business as usual" (NASCAR.com, 1/22).
DROP THE GLOVES: In Denver, Tom McGhee reports that USA Hockey filed a lawsuit yesterday in U.S. District Court in Denver against S.F.-based Gap and its Old Navy subsidiary, which has emblazoned "USA Hockey" on its merchandise. In the suit, USA Hockey stated that "it has had the name as a trademark since 1988 to identify various goods including clothing and services." The suit also claims that after USA Hockey complained to Gap, an attorney for Gap "said the company wouldn't stop using the mark" (DENVER POST, 1/23).
NOTES: Procter & Gamble's ThermaCare has signed a four-year deal to become the official back pain therapy of the PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour. Under the deal, ThermaCare will be able to establish on-site programs to provide brand exposure and sampling opportunities at select PGA Tour and Senior PGA Tour events. ThermaCare will also be able to develop Tour-related advertising, using the official designation and Tour logos (PGA Tour)....IMG has entered into a partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame to enhance its national sponsorship program and develop further media, exposition, and other alliances (IMG).
Clubs Suited For The Experts
At this week's PGA Merchandise Show, which starts tomorrow in Orlando, Nike will debut its golf club line, as it will "showcase irons, wedges and drivers in a two-story booth complete with a projection system that allows people to view the clubs in 3-D," according to Jerry Potter of USA TODAY, who notes the booth will also display Tiger Woods' trophies from The Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. Nike, "instead of building its brand through game improvement clubs for novice players," is "starting out with clubs suited for the experts. And instead of creating a product and hiring people to promote it, it first hires [Tiger Woods] and built around him." Callaway Golf CFO Brad Holiday said when Nike CEO Phil Knight signed Woods, "he bought a brand icon. He got into the golf business by osmosis" (USA TODAY, 1/23). Nike Golf President Bob Wood said of the new line, "This idea that golfers are resistant to change is nonsense." The FINANCIAL TIMES' Adrian Michaels writes that while Nike "acknowledges that big-name endorsements of the clubs will be important to growth," the company "has no plans to match the marketing spend of some of its rivals." Nike is also "not planning to compete on price," as its driver will retail at about $400 and its set of irons will cost $900-1,000, "comparable to top-of-the-range clubs from competitors" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/23).
Titans RB Eddie George has signed Wilhelmina Artists Management, a division of N.Y.-based modeling agency Wilhelmina, as his exclusive marketing company "in a deal meant to bring [him] more endorsement pacts," according to Liz Mullen of the SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Wilhelmina President Dieter Esch: "You will see some announcements coming soon on the apparel and shoe side." Esch added that George's "looks make him an excellent crossover candidate in what is becoming a growing trend of athletes as models." Carolyn Redd, George's business manager, said that a number of George's endorsements, including deals with adidas, Pepsi and Sprint, "are ending as the new relationship with Wilhelmina has started." Mullen notes that agents Lamont Smith and Peter Schafer will continue to handle George's contract work (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/21 issue).
Fox President of Sales Jon Nesvig denied that the network "was severely chopping ad prices and would lose money" on Super Bowl XXXVI, set for February 3 in New Orleans. Nesvig: "There are no $1.5[M] ads in the Super Bowl. We've got ads (left) in the single digits (out of the 60 spots for the Super Bowl) left in the fourth quarter. It will be another $200[M] Super Bowl day, pretty good considering the dot-coms and financial companies are sitting out." USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke reports Fox' ad price "is averaging just $2[M] per ad, with some fourth-quarter ads going for $1.7[M]. It is the first time the Super Bowl ad rate has fallen" (USA TODAY, 1/23).
ROLL THE DICE: DAILY VARIETY's David Bloom reports MGM, which will release the movie "Rollerball" on February 8, has "cut a deal with the NFL, costing roughly what MGM would have paid for a standard premiere and junket, to weave 'Rollerball' ads, talent and on-air promotions into NFL Films programs that will run on ESPN, Fox and CBS in the days before" Super Bowl XXXVI. The movie stars Chris Klein, LL Cool J and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, who will be seated at the game near stars that Fox is "likely to put on camera." MGM will get game tickets "for some execs, though just how many is still being negotiated" (DAILY VARIETY, 1/23).
SLUMBER PARTY: Sponsorship for this year's Playboy Super Saturday Night, set for February 2, is up 194% over last year. Southern Comfort and CyberCredit will title sponsor this year's event. Additional sponsors include A-B, Sony PlayStation, Don Diego Cigars and Zippo. Playboy will transform St. Elizabeth's Orphanage Museum into Playboy Mansion South for a signature Playboy pajama party-themed evening for its clients. Former NFLer Marcus Allen will co-host the event (Playboy).