SBD/Issue 202/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

The World Awaits: LRMR Devising Global Strategy For LeBron

LRMR Taking Long-Term
Approach In Marketing LeBron
LRMR Marketing’s strategy for Cavaliers F LeBron James — as outlined at a sports marketing summit last week in Akron attended by many of James’ sponsors — is examined in an AD AGE cover story by Rich Thomaselli. LRMR’s Maverick Carter, Rich Paul and Randy Mims discussed aligning James “with certain brands, such as a high-end car and a financial-services company.” But the group “hasn’t added a single marketer to the roster of Brand LeBron” since James parted with agent Aaron Goodwin in May ’05. An exec with a potential James partner said, “A lot of LeBron’s deals that are in place now were Aaron Goodwin’s doing. We have to do our homework too. I will say this, though: So far, I like what I hear [from LRMR].” LRMR said that “they’ve been taking their time and performing their due diligence on future agreements with potential partners.” 2 Degrees Ventures Founder & CEO Mitch Kanner, an adviser to LRMR, said the group is trying to make partnerships “client-centric, as opposed to brands writing checks against endorsement sponsorships. They’re going to create a more unified message around the brand with partners so that everybody gets what they need.” Microsoft VP/Global Sales & Marketing Joanne Bradford said the LRMR group has “impressed me. ... I believe them when they say it’s about strategy and long-term relationships.”

THE NEXT FRONTIER: LRMR said that its “ultimate goal” is to turn James into a “global icon, building partnerships with global companies,” by the ’08 Beijing Games. James is “mulling taking Mandarin classes in order to speak the language when he arrives in China.”

BUSINESS LEBRON: Thomaselli notes James is in L.A. this week shooting a Nike spot as part of the “Meet the LeBrons” campaign. The newest spot will portray James as “Business LeBron.” Microsoft, which has a relationship with James, is “helping promote the spot with a financial investment and by showing it on Windows Live” (AD AGE, 7/17 issue).

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Cleveland Cavaliers, Nike

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