SBD/Issue 55/Sponsorships, Advertising & MarketingPrint All
In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports General Mills' Wheaties "has signed a two-year NBA sponsorship deal." Sources said that the deal "included a rights fee in the low to mid six figures per year and granted General Mills league, team and player rights for both the NBA and WNBA." General Mills "is not committed to buying any media," and activation "took precedence over fees." A CD-ROM "containing highlights of NBA championships would be used as a premium." Wheaties also may put NBA and WNBA champions on boxes (SBJ, 12/2 issue).
FEELING SUPER AGAIN: In MA, Greg Turner reported MA-based Monster "is developing a 30-second commercial to air" during ABC's January 26 Super Bowl XXXVII telecast, which will mark Monster's fifth straight Super Bowl appearance. Ad industry estimates peg the cost of a 30-second ad at $2.3M (METROWEST DAILY NEWS, 11/27).
BRIGHT IDEA: The Islanders debuted their alternate third jersey on ice against the Senators and at retail last Wednesday, and the team's "Orange Out" promo resulted in 2,000 jersey sales, 1,200 at Nassau Coliseum (AP, 12/1). In Toronto, Al Strachan wrote that "there was not much critical acclaim" for the Islanders' third jersey, but the fans "seem to like it" (TORONTO SUN, 12/1).
When Nike releases this month 26 limited editions of vintage Air Jordans, the company "won't be sending a single pair" to any Foot Locker outlets, according to Ralph Frammolino of the L.A. TIMES, who noted it "also is doubtful that Foot Locker will get a piece of the newest model, the Jordan XVIII, when it debuts in February at $175 a pair." Nike Brand Communications Manager Joani Komlos said that the move is "strictly business, driven by shifting alliances within a competitive industry and Foot Locker's desire to stock less-expensive items." But analysts and insiders said that Nike's decision is "nothing less than payback the latest twist in a corporate slap fest" that began in May when Foot Locker announced that it was "scaling back high-end orders and adjusting their definition of marquee shoes" to those in the $90-120 range. Nike, in turn, "slapped limits on the top-of-the-line shoes Foot Locker would get even if it wanted them." D.A. Davidson analyst Theresa Meyer: "Nike's trying to discipline them. This has kind of shaken up the sneaker world a little bit." But Komlos said, "Our relationship will continue with Foot Locker. ... It's not like they're the enemy. We agree to disagree." Foot Locker President & CEO Matthew Serra said the companies are "on course to potentially get back to some of the special initiatives we had done in the past." Serra estimated Foot Locker's business with Nike would be down $150-250M through the holiday season and into the spring (L.A. TIMES, 11/30).
STILL HIP: In China, Susan Schwartz cited an NFO WorldGroup Youth Pulse survey of 500 Hong Kong teenagers aged 15-19 as indicating that Nike, adidas and Levi's "are among the coolest and most stylish brands," and their "popularity is linked to celebrity endorsement." Nike was the top brand, listed as "cool and stylish" by 21% of respondents (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 11/29).
ON THE UP: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Shirley Lazo writes, "Nike's dividend is gaining speed again. ... S&P forecasts a fiscal 2003 (ending May 31) sales gain of 6% to 8% on steady international growth, which would outweigh the likely contraction in U.S. footwear volume." S&P sees operating margins as "flat to modestly higher," and "non-U.S. revenues could, for the first time, outgrow domestic revenues" (WSJ.com, 12/2).
WORK IN PROGRESS: In L.A., Thomas Bonk reported that Tiger Woods "will continue testing Nike prototype forged titanium head drivers that are continually being tweaked" as he "tries to find the perfect one." Woods, who has played about 173 drivers, said, "We're pretty close." Bonk noted that Nike is "determined to match Woods with the club." Nike Golf engineer Tom Stites said Woods "complicated the project because he likes to hit so many kinds of shots with his driver" (L.A. TIMES, 11/30).
Rockets C Yao Ming, in Seattle to play the Sonics last Friday, met with Starbucks Chair and Sonics Owner Howard Schultz, and "it's possible" that Yao will endorse Starbucks in China, according to Danny O'Neil of the SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, who noted Yao "keeps his fridge stocked with Starbucks bottled frappuccinos." Regarding his first trip to Seattle to play the Sonics, Yao said through his translator, Colin Pine: "I was disappointed. I thought there would be a Starbucks by the bench here." Schultz: "We've known for quite some time about his loyalty and affection for Starbucks. And we're intrigued by the opportunity that may exist with Starbucks in China." O'Neil noted Starbucks has over 100 stores in China (SEATTLE P-I, 11/30). Also in Seattle, Jayda Evans wrote that Yao's marketing team "won't sign him to any endorsement deals until January or February." BDA Sports Dir of Marketing Bill Sanders said, "We're not being proactive at all. We're not in any rush to do anything marketing-wise. But the phones are ringing off the hook and when someone calls, you don't tell them to call back in January or February, but that's when we plan to be proactive" (SEATTLE TIMES, 11/29). In Houston, Fran Blinebury wrote Yao "is quickly becoming the man of the world the NBA envisioned, the ... ambassador who will open the planet's most heavily populated nation to business opportunities that could reap hundreds of millions." The Warriors "drew their largest crowd of the season" against the Rockets November 27, and the team's promotional department "made no secret about who was the focus of its efforts." The Sonics "also saw a spike at the gate" for their game against the Rockets, as the team drew its second sellout of the season (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/1).