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SBD/Issue 162/Sponsorships, Advertising & MarketingPrint All
I'M LOVIN' IT: AD AGE's Jeremy Mullman writes the sponsorship is the "latest sign of ads creeping onto one of the few pristine places left in major-league sports." And although this is a "one-time deal," WNBA President Donna Orender said that it was "likely the league would look to sell jersey space again in the future." Orender: "There are more partners out there that we'll be talking to about it. It could happen, yes." McDonald's Senior Dir of Alliance Marketing John Lewicki said of the jersey sponsorship, "There aren't a whole lot of opportunities to do it. It's a unique position, and we like the idea." Mullman notes the WNBA designed the jerseys to help McDonald's "launch its Southern-style chicken breakfast sandwich, which is being hyped with a national sampling effort" on Thursday. Lewicki said that the WNBA deal was the "best sports opportunity to market to women" the sandwich. The QSR is using NASCAR to "target men through sports" (AD AGE, 5/12 issue).
Vitaminwater recently signed Lakers G Kobe Bryant to an endorsement deal, and Glaceau Senior VP/Marketing Rohan Oza said the brand is "going to do a full 360 degree campaign with him," according to Darren Rovell of CNBC. Oza: "One part of it is around the motto he's living by now -- Carpediem." Bryant last week was named the NBA MVP, and Oza said Vitaminwater signed Bryant because he is "one of the hottest athletes in the world." Coca-Cola, which bought Vitaminwater parent company Glaceau in May '07, dropped Bryant as an endorser after he was charged with sexual assault in '03, but Oza said Glaceau "operates as an independent unit within Coca-Cola." Oza: "We came up with the decision to go after Kobe because we're fans of his and we liked the fact that he was already drinking Vitaminwater" (CNBC.com, 5/13).
Bryant Beginning To Once Again
Be Face Of Marketing Campaigns
STILL A WAYS TO GO: Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom said of Bryant, "Before that rape charge, you couldn't turn on a television and not see him in some kind of commercial. Even his name was cute. ... Nobody says that about Kobe Bryant anymore. He may be popular and he may start to have an ad here or there, but he's not back to that marketable personality that he was before" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 5/11).
Learfield Sports has agreed to develop a corporate partnership program for the Big Ten Conference, which has handled sponsorships in-house in the past. The partnership goes into effect immediately and the new entity will be called Big Ten Sports Properties. Among the Big Ten's current corporate partners are Liberty Mutual, U.S. Bank, Ramada, Gatorade, 7UP and Xbox 360. Learfield will construct a corporate partner platform for the Big Ten through media, hospitality, presenting sponsorships of select conference championships, venue signage and product sampling. Learfield will create assets for the Big Ten's Web site as well and work with the Big Ten Network to form multimedia platforms for sponsors. Learfield will hire the staff for Big Ten Sports Properties, which will have personnel at the league's headquarters in Park Ridge, Illinois, as well as downtown Chicago. Learfield represents six of the Big Ten's 11 members -- Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.
Nike To Use Beijing Olympics As Springboard
To Gain Larger Market Share In China
NEW BATTLEGROUND: While Nike commands a 40% share of the U.S. footwear market vs. adidas' 15%, the companies are "locked in a much tighter race in China." The marketplace competition in the country has included "grassroots marketing ploys, sponsoring local sports teams and players and appearing in new sales locations at a breakneck pace." Euromonitor data for '06 indicated that Nike was the "largest foreign shoe brand in China, with a 9.8% share of the total footwear market, followed by Adidas at 8.2%." Nike sponsors 22 of the 28 Chinese sports federations, while adidas has the "rights to outfit referees and event staff" at the Olympics. adidas also will "outfit Chinese athletes with uniforms when they're awarded medals," as a result of its sponsorship of the Chinese National Olympic Committee (MARKETWATCH.com, 5/9).
ALSO IN THE RACE: BUSINESSWEEK's Frederik Balfour reports China-based athletic shoe and apparel company Li Ning also has "quite a lineup of sponsorships for the Beijing Olympics," including the U.S. table tennis team, the Sudan track & field team and Sweden's Olympic team for the Opening and Closing ceremonies. While Li Ning "once ruled China's sneaker business," the company now "lags behind giants Nike and Adidas even at home." Li Ning VP/Brand Marketing & Int'l Business Abel Wu acknowledged the company does not have "as strong a brand" as Nike and adidas. But Wu said, "Our thinking is that as a local brand, we need to have an international image." In addition to Li Ning's int'l sponsorships, the company is running an ad campaign titled "One Team, One Belief," which features European, African, South American and Chinese athletes "standing in a stadium with their hands across their hearts." Li Ning also is sponsoring the "NBA Jam Van Tour," which travels through Chinese cities and includes a basketball court that "can be assembled at every stop." Local kids are "invited to participate in competitions," such as the "Li Ning Slam Dunk Contest" (BUSINESSWEEK, 5/12 issue).
NFL To Work With Rookies
To Develop Their Own Brand
Beckham Shooting TV Spot
For New Sharpie Campaign
GAMING GRAND PRIX: NEXT-GEN.biz' Tom Ivan reported Codemasters has "secured the exclusive videogame rights" to F1. The worldwide deal provides Codemasters with "rights to feature all Grand Prix circuits, [F1] teams, cars, and driver likenesses." Codemasters plans to take the series "multiplatform with a debut release in 2009 for home consoles, handheld formats and PC." Sony previously held F1 rights, and they appeared only on PlayStation platforms. The F1 games will be developed using Codemasters' EGO Engine (NEXT-GEN.biz, 5/9).
BALL EFFECT: USA TODAY's Jerry Potter reports Titleist, which "dominates the PGA Tour in players" using its golf balls, has 11 wins this year on the tour, while Nike has six, including Trevor Immelman's win at The Masters. Callaway has two wins on the PGA Tour, but Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam have "combined to give Callaway eight wins in 11 tournaments" within the LPGA (USA TODAY, 5/13).
NOTES: Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR) has formed a partnership with Bingham Entertainment & Sports Talent to promote the IndyCar Series team (SFR)....MRB Productions, which "creates spots, teasers and commercials for TV sports programming, will be generating promotions for this summer's ESPY awards" (TVWEEK.com, 5/11).