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White Sox, Blackhawks Form
One-Year Marketing Partnership
REACHING OUT: The move represents another major marketing initiative undertaken by the Blackhawks since the September death of Owner Bill Wirtz, who famously resisted many forms of outreach to fans. The club in recent months also has announced plans to televise every game next season, create a fan festival and repair strained relationships with several club legends. “We have to be bold. We have to be innovative. We’re working with a blank canvas,” said Blackhawks Senior VP/Business Operations Jay Blunk. “This whole quest is about making the Blackhawks relevant again. We built up such great momentum since the beginning of the new year. The question before us now is how we keep that momentum. Staying visible and being in front of White Sox fans is part of that.” The Blackhawks also intend to pursue some promotional opportunities with the Cubs, particularly as Blunk and Blackhawks President John McDonough each were longtime Cubs employees before moving to the hockey team late last year. But Blunk said it will not be "on the same scale as with the Sox.” Blunk: “The in-game presentation opportunities at U.S. Celluar lend themselves to far more activity.”
NCAA Pulls Hooters Ad
From Final Four Program
ATHLETE ADS: In Richmond, Paul Woody wrote under the header, "Commercials Add Up To Money For Everyone Except Athletes." Noting a Univ. of Virginia football ad featuring narration by WR Kevin Ogletree and RB Cedric Peerman, Woody wrote when a school uses a "star athlete to promote ticket sales, the money goes to the athletic department." The money also "can go to the coach, if he has a clause in his contract regarding attendance." While coaches "can sell just about anything," a system "should be put in place that permits college athletes to use their fame and public profile for their own benefit." Woody: "Failing that, athletic departments and conferences should be prohibited from using athletes to sell their products. Coaches should be prohibited from endorsing any products except those where the proceeds, in the NCAA's words, 'go directly to the member institution, member conference or the charitable, educational or nonprofit agency" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/6).
SOARING SALES: In San Antonio, William Pack reported NCAA merchandise sales over the weekend in the city "could top $2[M]." Stephen Haase, who ran the Team Store trailer by the Alamo, said, "They'll sell out by Saturday night." Meanwhile, five teams of law enforcement officers and Collegiate Licensing Co. officials "fanned out across San Antonio on Friday looking for counterfeit NCAA merchandise" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 4/5).
CASHING IN: In Charlotte, Kathryn Thier reported Davidson College, which advanced to the tournament's Elite Eight, has seen a "262[%] increase in Web site traffic," and there are "worries there won't be enough freshman housing next year. The Davidson bookstore, which usually sells "about $1,700" worth of merchandise a day, sold "about $40,000 a day during the week of the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight appearances" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 4/5).
Jeter Close To Inking Deal To
Join Gillette's "Champions" Campaign
Learfield Communications Lands Exclusive
Sales Rights At TCF Bank Stadium
On Long Island, Mark Herrmann reported Commerce Bank, which this week will be acquired by TD Banknorth and become known as TD Commerce Bank, is "pulling out" of sponsoring the Champions Tour tournament on Long Island after this year's event from June 23-29. The PGA Tour, which operates the Champions Tour, "wants the venerable and resilient tournament to continue." Local golf sources "point out that TD Commerce might return for 2010.'' The bank pulled out because the "prospect of sponsoring in '09, right after another U.S. Open on Long Island, was daunting'' (NEWSDAY, 4/6).
VOTE FOR KOBE: In Boston, Peter May wrote the Lakers' campaign for G Kobe Bryant to be named the NBA MVP, "is, well, a campaign." The team mailed out three bumper stickers that read, "Who else? Bryant 08," as well as a "large pair of red suspenders with 12 campaign buttons, six on each side" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/6).
NOTES: A Vancouver-based automobile firm is advertising a car that former Canucks LW Matt Cooke was driving and endorsing before being traded to the Capitals. The buyer of the car also will receive the jersey Cooke signed as part of the promotion (VANCOUVER SUN, 4/5)....Trading card company Donruss will "unveil a line of [MMA] cards" featuring fighters Randy Couture, Matt Serra, Georges St. Pierre, Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin and Dan Henderson (CALGARY SUN, 4/5)....Former Olympic swimmer Janet Evans has signed a one-year endorsement deal with CanolaInfo to highlight the health benefits of canola oil (THE DAILY).