SBD/Issue 122/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

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  • State Street To Partner With NESN For Red Sox-A's Japan Series

    Financial services provider State Street Corp. is partnering with NESN as presenting sponsor of the net's coverage of MLB's Ricoh Japan Opening Series 2008, featuring the Red Sox and A's. NESN will deliver State Street-sponsored reports on "NESN SportsDesk" and "NESN Presents: The Red Sox Go Global," a 30-minute special on March 29 that will recap the Red Sox' season-opening trip. State Street sponsored-activities will commence March 19, and the company will host the Red Sox' official send-off from Spring Training as the team departs for Japan. While in Japan, State Street will be a sponsor of the Red Sox-A's two-game series, and two exhibition games against Japanese teams Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants (State Street). In Boston, Chris Reidy wrote part of what makes the sponsorship attractive to State Street is the "fact that it employs more than 400 professionals in Japan, where it has operated a range of businesses since 1988." The company's partnership with the Red Sox builds on an '06 agreement through which State Street received naming rights to a section of Fenway Park dubbed State Street Pavilion (, 3/13). State Street joins EMC Corp. as a sponsor of the Red Sox' trip to Japan. Both companies have "signed up directly" with MLB (BOSTON HERALD, 3/14).

  • Ice Driving: NHL Signs Bridgestone Firestone As Official Tire

    The NHL Thursday announced a new partnership with Bridgestone Firestone, giving the league its first official tire sponsor in a two-year deal sources valued in the eight-figures. The deal includes intellectual property rights, advertising spots on NHL Network and, and dasherboard and on-ice displays during the NHL All-Star game, int'l games and a second outdoor game should it occur. Bridgestone also agreed to offer advertising support to league games aired on Versus and NBC. “Bridgestone is the number one brand in tires globally,” said NHL Senior VP/Corporate Sales & Marketing Keith Wachtel. “Aligning ourselves with a leader in that realm helps us as the league builds its international business, which is something they want to take an advantage of. We think it’s a great play for both of us.” With the deal, the NHL has doubled it sponsorship revenue in six months. It also added Ticketmaster and Scotiabank to its roster of sponsors this year.

  • Fox Launching Apparel Line Featuring Gopher Cam Star "Digger"

    Fox Sports President Ed Goren Thursday at the IMG World Congress of Sports sang the praises of the "Gopher Cam" used during the net's NASCAR coverage, mentioning that the net was preparing to sell merchandise around it. Fox Sports Enterprises, in conjunction with Chase Authentics, has designed a T-shirt featuring "Digger," the cartoon gopher. The white T-shirt will be available for sale at trackside merchandise stands for the rest of the NASCAR season, beginning this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, and also on multiple Web sites including and Additional Digger apparel and novelty items, including baseball caps and plush toys, are expected to join the line in the near future (THE DAILY).

    TV PLUG: Yates Racing, which is searching for a sponsor for its No. 28 Ford driven by Travis Kvapil, during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway will outfit the car with the phrase "11 million" on its hood. The figure represents the average number of TV viewers for the past three Cup races on Fox, not including the 33.5 million viewers of the Daytona 500. Yates also has a Web site "dedicated to finding sponsors for its two-car Sprint Cup team" (, 3/13).

  • Toyota's Consensus Management Style Out Of Step With F1

    Yamashina Taking Team-Approach
    Managment Style To Toyota's F1 Operation
    Toyota, which has "never won a race or ended a season" in better than fourth place since joining F1 in '02, now is "pinning its hopes on fully implementing its vaunted consensus-management style, which is out of step with the rest of the world of grand-prix racing, to breathe life into its half-billion-dollar-a-year F1 team," according to John Murphy of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Toyota adopted the "traditional F1 management style when it joined the circuit six years ago," but when Toyota team Principal Tadashi Yamashina took over in '07, he "switched to the system he knew best." Yamashina began teaching the "key to winning can be found in the Toyota way." Yamashina: "We encourage teamwork and we always have our minds set on kaizen." Kaizen in Japanese means "continuous improvement." However, Murphy notes many racing analysts "question whether [Toyota] is suited to the competitive world of F1," where historically the "most successful teams have been led by strong personalities who function like field generals in battle, calling all the shots not only during the race but also during the design phase." But Toyota execs said that, performance aside, the company's "exposure in [F1] reaps many benefits." Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said that the company's motorsports activities "stimulate excitement among car buyers, especially the younger generation." Murphy writes as a marketing tool, there are "few sports that give sponsors wider global exposure than F1." Coventry Univ. Business School professor of sports business strategy and marketing Simon Chadwick said that while F1 "enhances brand image and name recognition, there is no evidence that poor performances have a negative impact on a sponsor" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/14).

  • Bears Searching For Advertising Agency For 2008 Season

    The Bears are "quietly conducting a search for an ad agency," according to Lewis Lazare of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Sources said that the Bears "initially invited four local ad agencies to vie for the account," Romani Bros., Two by Four, Tom Dick & Harry, and Maddock Douglas. Each of the agencies "made its pitch to Bears executives, and at least one of the shops was known to have presented a spec campaign to Bears top management." The sources said that the Bears “subsequently selected two finalists for the account: Romani Bros. and Two by Four.” The Bears could make a decision on the two finalists, "as early as next week." Two by Four previously served as the White Sox ad agency, until the team "commenced an agency review last summer that resulted in the selection" of Energy BBDO, Chicago. Sources said that the Bears "had not been working closely with any ad shop recently." Lazare writes perhaps "concerns about the team's lackluster showing last season may have prompted the Bears management to reach out for an agency to help the team reconnect with fans" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/14).

  • Marketplace Round-Up

    The AP's Sarah Skidmore wrote Nike, in its "first corporate responsibility report to focus solely on China," listed problems including "inadequate management, excessive overtime and workers using false documents to get jobs." Nike officials said that, despite improvements in worker rights laws in China, "significant problems remain in working conditions and with managers not meeting its standards." Nike said that it released a country-specific report because this summer's Beijing Olympic Games are "attracting so much attention to China" (AP, 3/13).

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT: In Seattle, Jon Naito notes the Mariners for the '08 season will add two new vendors. Washington-based Garlic Jim's Famous Gourmet Pizza has "entered into a sponsorship deal with the club" and will sell and advertise its products at Safeco Field. Pennsylvania-based Auntie Anne's Pretzels also will begin operations at Safeco Field this season and will have two locations inside the ballpark (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 3/14).

    NOTES: AutoZone will return as title sponsor of the '08 Civil Rights Game in Memphis between the White Sox and Mets on March 29. The game will be televised live on ESPN at 4:00pm CT (, 3/13)....PowerBar has launched a national ad campaign featuring U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. The campaign, bearing the tagline "Power To Push," will include TV, print and online advertising. A 30-second spot starring Phelps debuted Wednesday on Discovery Channel and will air during sports programming through Fall '08 (PowerBar).

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