SBD/Issue 166/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Nike, Yankees Agree To Five-Year Deal To Begin With '09 Season

Yankees Ending 11-Year Relationship
With Adidas After '08 Season
Nike and the Yankees have "agreed in principle to a five-year sponsorship agreement" set to begin in '09, the team's first season in the new Yankee Stadium, according to Terry Lefton in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The cash and product deal ends the team's 11-year relationship with adidas, which "remains one of Adidas' biggest U.S. sports marketing expenditures." Nike's deal is "short on branding and long on marketing," as the company will be able to "increase the amount of team apparel it already sells as an MLB licensee and it will have a store-within-store shop at the new stadium." Nike also will "run local marketing campaigns, grassroots initiatives, and outfit Yankees coaches and minor leaguers with cleats and other performance wear." The deal does "not include MLB jersey rights, but does give Nike the ability to expand its apparel offerings." While Nike cannot exercise the new rights until next season, it will be an "unusually active MLB All-Star Game sponsor, running a New York City-themed marketing campaign and outfitting 2,000 volunteers in Nike apparel." Sources said that Nike also is talking to the Mets "about a similar deal." Lefton notes the Yankees-adidas deal began in '97 as a "rogue agreement and was the catalyst behind the expulsion of [Yankees Chair] George Steinbrenner from [MLB's] ruling executive committee and led" to the Yankees suing the league and each of its clubs (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/19 issue).

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