SBD/Issue 121/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • George Lopez Out As Host Of Bob Hope Chrysler Classic

    Lopez No Longer Host Of
    Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
    Comedian George Lopez' two-year run as host of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic "has come to an abrupt halt," after his name was removed from the tournament's Web site, according to Thomas Bonk of the L.A. TIMES. While there is no longer any mention of Lopez on the site, his "image is still used." Tournament President John Foster said that the tournament is a "couple of weeks away from announcing something different for next year." Foster: "We're trying to bring in a special guy out of the hat." Bonk writes that would probably be Arnold Palmer, who "would serve as the host for the 50th anniversary of the tournament." Foster said Lopez "will still be around, he'll still be a part of the tournament and hopefully play in the tournament." However, Lopez said whether he plays or not will "depend on [his] schedule" (L.A. TIMES, 3/13).

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  • Yao's Marketability Remains High Despite Season-Ending Injury

    Foot Injury Unlikely To Have
    Any Effect On Yao's Endorsements
    Rockets C Yao Ming's endorsement contracts "remain very much intact leading" to this summer's Beijing Olympics despite a foot injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the NBA season, according to Eddie Pells of the AP. In fact, the injury might have created "even more of a buzz" for Yao in China. Beijing-based sports marketing consulting company Helios Partners China President Chris Renner: "I think media scrutiny and fan interest regarding Yao's recovery will keep the Olympic buzz growing strong. The saga of 'will he or won't he' play in the Olympics will be drummed into the heads of a billion people." However, Reebok, which is marketing two Yao shoes -- the Dragon ATR Elite II and the Hexride Yao Ming Olympic -- for the Beijing Games, may "suffer as Yao misses the end of the NBA season, robbing the company of one of its best platforms to advertise." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis: "If the Rockets make the finals and Yao's not there, that's 200 million people in China who would miss out on the chance to see him on basketball's biggest stage." While Reebok ads "won't be a part of Olympic programming," other Olympic sponsors including Coca-Cola and McDonald's have deals with Yao that are "tied, in part, to the Olympics, and thus will see virtually no diminishing of the value of their investment." Renner said that high-profile athletes like Yao "often sign contracts that don't penalize them if they are injured [or] fail to appear in a specific event." But experts said that even if sponsors get "some money back because of this injury, Yao's long-term marketability isn't harmed" (AP, 3/11).

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  • Steve & Barry's, Watson Pushing Discount Golf Line

    Steve & Barry's Pushing Bubbagolf Line
    Steve & Barry's partnered with PGA Tour golfer Bubba Watson last year to launch "Bubbagolf," a line of "inexpensive golf apparel," according to Adam Schupak of GOLFWEEK. Watson's line features 30 items including golf shirts and caps. Others have "tried and failed to launch" low-cost golf apparel, but "few have had at their disposal the reach of Steve & Barry's," which has 237 stores across 37 states. Steve & Barry's picked Watson to represent the line "because he grew up in a family of modest means," and Watson "can relate to the struggles many face in trying to dress their families on limited budgets." Watson: "Golfers shouldn't have to worry about the cost of buying clothes that look right for the course." Steve & Barry's Chief Partnership Officer Howard Schacter: "This is really for the weekend golfers. Guys at their municipal course wearing a T-shirt, shorts, hopefully golf shoes, but maybe even sneakers." Steve & Barry's this year plans on adding 70 new retail facilities, and Sporting Goods Intelligence projects the retailer "will pass Sports Authority this year and become the second-largest sporting goods retail chain, behind only Dick's Sporting Goods in terms of physical size" (GOLFWEEK, 3/15 issue).

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  • Retaining Possession: DiMeo To Remain Bulls' Ad Agency

    The Bulls have "decided to keep" DiMeo & Co., Chicago, which has worked with the team since '95, as its ad agency of record, according to Lewis Lazare of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. DiMeo President & CEO Bernie DiMeo said that Bulls Owner Jerry Reinsdorf  "first suggested putting the account into review to 'see what was out there.'" Other agency finalists included Euro RSCG, Element 79 Sports, Tom Dick & Harry, the Ungar Group, Hoffman York, Gertrude Inc. and Romani Bros. DiMeo "expects to meet next week" with Bulls execs to discuss the team's '08-09 campaign, which will debut this summer (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/13). DiMeo was among "two dozen agencies to submit proposals after the Bulls announced in late December it was putting its account up for review" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/13).

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  • Mazda Builds Brand Loyalty Through Support Of Amateur Racing

    Mazda Building Brand Loyalty
    Through Amateur Racing Effort
    Few automakers are as "deeply involved" with amateur racers as Mazda, as the company "claims 9,000 racers and says more of its cars zoom around road-race tracks on any given weekend than any other nameplate," according to Chris Woodyard of USA TODAY. Mazda North America Senior VP Robert Davis: "We're here to help people race. Our core values are to have as many people racing Mazdas as possible." SportsCar Magazine Editor Jason Isley: "It sells cars. There's not a doubt that Mazda is the predominant car out there." Auto companies "offer discounts, prize money, free technical advice and sometimes even cars to amateur racers," and their competition "creates lots of goodwill, brand loyalty, positive word of mouth and the envy of their more pedestrian workmates -- all of which helps sell cars and burnish brand image." Other automakers also are "involved in helping amateurs." Ford sells "sprint cars with Ford engines and three levels of race-ready Mustangs." Also, Porsche Motorsport spokesperson Andy Schupack noted that "dozens of Porsche clubs around the country offer amateur racing." And Honda, which said that it has a "broad-based program to support many forms of amateur racing," gives "worthy participants prize money and racing parts" (USA TODAY, 3/13).

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  • Wheels & Deals: The Hartford To Sponsor Franchitti's Car

    Busch Receives Red Viper For Being Top-
    Finishing Dodge Sprint Cup Driver In '07
    The Hartford Financial Services Group will sponsor Chip Ganassi Racing's (CGR) No. 40 Dodge driven by Dario Franchitti at Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Franchitti's Dodge will sport The Hartford's maroon and yellow colors and will feature the company's branding on the hood and quarter panels. The Hartford will serve as an associate sponsor of the No. 40 car for the remainder of the season (CGR)....NASCAR driver Kurt Busch received a red '08 Dodge SRT10 Viper, the 25,000th produced at Chrysler's Connor Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, because he was Dodge's top-finishing Sprint Cup driver in '07 (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/13)....GoDaddy.com will serve as presenting sponsor for Saturday's Nationwide Series Sharpie Mini 300 telecast on ABC (GoDaddy)....Olympus, a former Ferrari F1 sponsor, has switched its sponsorship to McLaren for '08. McLaren said that Olympus will be the team's "official supplier of photographic services," and British photographer Jon Nicholson will spend the season in the McLaren garage to document the season in photographs (AUTORACING1.com, 3/12).

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