SBD/Issue 165/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • I Am Ironman: Ford Signs On To Sponsor Triathlon Events

    Ford Tough: Ironman
    Triathlon Hitches Title Sponsor
    Ford has signed a three-year deal to title sponsor the Ironman Triathlon. Beginning this fall, Ford will sponsor the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii, as well as five qualifying events. Ford will increase the purse Hawaii race by $100,000 to a total of $580,000 (THE DAILY). USA TODAY’s Michael McCarthy notes Ford is Ironman’s “first title sponsor in a decade.” Ironman’s last title sponsor was Gatorade from ’90-95. Ford will feature its vehicles during NBC’s coverage of Ironman events. World Triathlon owns the Ironman brand and has recently added sponsors such as Dell, Timex, Michelin and Foster Grant for the brand “while expanding its licensed lines of gear, treadmills and weights.” Ford SUV Group Marketing Manager Christine Feuell said of the appeal of Ironman, “Take a look at the sports in the Olympics these days: They are taking on a more extreme appeal” (USA TODAY, 5/19).

    Print | Tags: NBC, Olympics, PepsiCo
  • Extreme Heat: Dwyane Wade’s Celebrity Continues To Grow

    Heat G Dwyane Wade’s jersey was the No. 1 seller last week in the NBA, according to data from Florida-based SportsScan Info cited by Scott Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. During the regular season, Wade’s jersey was ninth, while Heat C Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey ranked first. SportsScan Marketing Dir Neil Schwartz noted that Wade has “three different styles [of jerseys] in the top 10.” Schwartz: “It looks as though there’s a new star on the horizon for the NBA.” He added that Wade’s “surge also has catapulted the Heat to the No. 1 spot among team sales the past two weeks.” For most of the season, the Heat had been the eighth- or ninth-best seller in the league. O’Neal has three jerseys in the top 25 (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 5/18).

    SHOE IN:’s Darren Rovell noted that while Nike guaranteed a combined $108M to Cavaliers F LeBron James ($90M) and Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony ($18M), the best offers made to Wade, the fifth-overall pick in the ’03 NBA draft, “topped out at $400,000.” Converse Sports Marketing Dir Ric Wilson, whose company has a deal with Wade, said, “LeBron was a property before coming into the Nike deal because of the exposure he got in high school. Dwyane simply flew under the radar.” Wade’s agent Henry Thomas added, “No one in the shoe business thought that he would become what he has become.” Rovell reported the suggested retail price for Wade’s signature shoe, due out this fall, will be $90. Converse already makes a Wade lifestyle shoe called the Wade County, which sells for $65 (, 5/16).

    WISH GRANTED: USA TODAY’s Ian O’Connor wrote Wade “is the gift” NBA Commissioner David Stern has been “hoping for, a high-flying action hero who keeps himself grounded for the sake of his teammates and his league. This is the guard who can blow past the Kobe Bryants, the T-Macs, the Vince Carters, the Grant Hills and the rest of the perimeter powers who entered the NBA as possible heirs to the throne.” Wade’s high school coach, Jack Fitzgerald, said, “The question people keep asking is whether he can handle the celebrity. I think he can. Dwyane’s got the image you look for, and he’s worked hard on that” (USA TODAY, 5/17). For more on Wade.

    Print | Tags: Basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, Converse, Denver Nuggets, ESPN, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, Miami Heat, NBA, Nike, Walt Disney
  • Shot Heard ‘Round The Court: Branca Sues Steiner Sports

    Branca Files Lawsuit Over
    Contract With Steiner Sports
    Former Brooklyn Dodgers P Ralph Branca is suing Steiner Sports Marketing in New York State Supreme Court for fraud and “misrepresenting the terms of an agreement the parties negotiated four years ago,” according to Darren Rovell of A contract between Steiner Sports and Topps “calls for Branca to be paid $48,000 for autographing 4,000 cards.” But Branca, who gave up the “Shot Heard ‘Round The World” home run to former Giants player Bobby Thomson, which won the ‘51 NL pennant, claims that he signed a separate contract with Steiner -– “acting as an authorized agent of Topps –- that would only pay” him $25,000. Branca said that he “never saw the $48,000 deal Steiner signed on his behalf with Topps, and alleges Steiner pocketed the $23,000 difference without his knowledge.” But Steiner Sports President Brandon Steiner said that Branca knew his company “wasn’t working for free.” Rovell noted Steiner’s commission was “almost 10 times” the 10-15% agents normally get for similar deals. The suit also names Topps as a defendant, as Branca’s attorney Brian Caplan believes his “client’s rights were not correctly conveyed and Branca still signed the cards.” Topps execs said that the company has “done nothing improper whatsoever in this incident.” Also, Topps “could seek their own legal recourse against Steiner” (, 5/18).

    Print | Tags: Baseball, ESPN, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Walt Disney
  • Names & Faces: Matsuis Just Part Of MLB’s Japanese Picture

    In Newark, Dan Graziano writes Yankees LF Hideki Matsui and Mets 2B Kaz Matsui “will be treated as part of the larger show, not as a show unto themselves” by Japanese media this weekend when the Yankees play the Mets at Shea Stadium. Gaku Tashiro, a reporter for Japanese daily Sankei Sports said, “Matsui vs. Matsui is not as big a story to Japanese fans anymore. One reason is that Kaz is struggling so much and Japanese fans are disappointed in him.” Graziano notes many of the reporters who covered Kaz Matsui last year have switched to covering the White Sox and 2B Tadahito Iguchi. Other Japanese MLB story lines this season are D’Rays P Hideo Nomo approaching his 200th career victory (U.S. and Japan combined), Hideki Matsui’s early-season slump and Mariners RF Ichiro Suzuki following his single-season hit record set last season (STAR-LEDGER, 5/19).

    Kerr Says LPGA Poised To Follow
    In Footsteps Of Women’s Tennis
    FLAUNT IT: In a GOLFWORLD cover story by Ron Sirak, LPGA player Cristie Kerr said, “The general public has this perception of the LPGA of not being young, or not being hip, or not being exciting — or not being attractive, to speak frankly.” She added, “I think the face of the LPGA is changing. It’s fresh, it’s hip, it’s exciting and I think people are catching on to it. It’s going to catch on like wildfire. I think we are poised to do what women’s tennis did.” When asked about the danger of marketing the LPGA Tour too much on sexuality, she said, “I think people tend to be a little oversensitive about that stuff. Why not market all of your good attributes?” (GOLFWORLD, 5/20).

    HIGH SCHOOL HIGH: Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay reports Florida-based ML Apparel has launched “HighSchoolDayz,” a line of “throwback high school jerseys” for NBA, NFL and MLB players, starting with Heat F Udonis Haslem’s Miami High jersey, available for $80. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Udonis Haslem Children’s Foundation (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 5/19).

    Print | Tags: Baseball, Basketball, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago White Sox, Football, Golf, LPGA, Miami Heat, MLB, NBA, New York Mets, New York Yankees, NFL, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays
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