SBD/Issue 162/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

McDonald's Puts Logo On WNBA Jerseys As Part Of Sponsorship Deal

The WNBA season tips off Saturday and as part of a new marketing deal with McDonald's, the league's 14 teams will feature the QSR's "golden arches on the front" of all jerseys during the season's opening week and each club's home opener, according to John Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. This marks the first time that a "company logo other than the uniform manufacturer" has appeared on the regular-season uniform of an NBA, WNBA or D-League team. Under the deal, McDonald's also will be the presenting sponsor for the league's opening week. Financial terms were not disclosed, but WNBA officials said that the QSR "paid a rights fee along with a national media buy." McDonald's also will have a floor logo near the scorer's table, "courtside seat logos, rotational signage and logos on the stanchion pads during three nationally televised WNBA games." Additionally, McDonald's restaurants in WNBA markets will have POS ticket promos and players Thursday will make appearances in 10 league markets when the QSR "will give out millions of free samples of its new chicken products products as part of a national sampling day promotion."  McDonald's was a WNBA "original marketing partner" in '97, and it also partnered with the league for the '05 and '06 seasons (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/12 issue).

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).

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